Supplements must be safe because they’re natural
NOT ALWAYS. Plants and other natural products have been used for thousands of years to maintain health and treat illness, and many are helpful. However, you should never assume that just because a health product is “natural,” it is automatically “safe.” Like conventional drugs, herbal medicines and other natural products may have potentially serious side effects or trigger allergic reactions. These supplements may also affect how your prescription drugs work. Talk to your doctor before you take any supplements, including herbal or botanical supplements, Chinese, Ayurvedic, or other traditional medicines. You should do this, especially if you have a medical condition. Your doctor can tell you which supplements may be helpful, which may have adverse side effects and how the supplements will interact with any medications you may be taking. You should also speak with your pharmacist before taking any supplements.
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Calcium and vitamin D
Calcium works together with other bone-building nutrients – particularly vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium – to maintain strong and healthy bones and teeth. Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D throughout your life, combined with regular physical activity, will help prevent osteoporosis. With osteoporosis, your bones become smaller, more fragile, and more likely to break. In Canada, one in four women and one in eight men over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. Recent studies have also shown that eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D will help protect against muscle weakness, which in turn will help prevent falls. Seniors should consume 1200 mg of calcium and 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day from food sources and/or supplements. Seniors over 70 years of age may require up to 800 IU a day. If you already have osteoporosis, your doctor may recommend even higher amounts of calcium and vitamin D.
I’m too old to exercise
False. You are never too old for physical activity. Even if you are in your 80s or 90s, staying active will help you feel better and do the things you want to do.
You should work towards 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity every day, but it does not have to be all at once. For example, you could try walking for 10 minutes in the morning, and another 10 in the afternoon, with a short stretch before and after and a little gardening or vacuuming in between. You can also alternate walking days with days where you do some strength training – lifting light weights, such as soup cans, for example. And if you can’t do 30 minutes, even 10 minutes of light physical activity a day will help you feel more vibrant, energetic, and alert.
All fats are bad
False. Research now proves that it is not fat that is bad for you, but the type of fat you eat that counts most. Everyone needs to eat some fat to stay healthy. Fat supplies your body with energy and helps build a
protective coat around your cells – but it’s got to be healthy fat and in the right amount.
Unhealthy fats are saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are mostly found in food that comes from animals. They are also found in palm and coconut oils. Trans fats come mostly from vegetable oils
that have been made solid through a process called hydrogenation.
unhealthy fats are found in:
-whole or full-fat milk, including coconut milk and Hong Kong-style milk tea
-cream, sour cream, and ice cream
-butter and clarified butter or ghee
-fatty red meat (sausage, pork hock, bacon, Chinese preserved meats)
– chicken feet, chicken, duck and turkey skin or fat
– dim sum (including pork pastry, potstickers, and sticky rice wraps)
Healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
One type of polyunsaturated fat – omega 3 fatty acid – is particularly helpful in reducing the “stickiness” of your blood, so you are less likely to develop clots. Omega 3 fatty acids also help lower triglycerides, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Healthy fats are found in:
-oily or fatty fish*, such as salmon, anchovies, rainbow trout, sardines, mackerel, eulachon, char, and herring
-nuts and seeds, such as cashews, almonds, walnuts*, peanuts and ground flaxseeds*
-vegetable oils, including olive, peanut, canola*, soybean*, and sesame oil and soft-tub margarine made from these oils (provided they have “non-hydrogenated” on the label)
-flaxseed and walnut oils* (do not heat these oils; use them cold)
-foods fortified with omega 3, including eggs, yogurt, and soy beverages. *
* These items are all particularly high in omega 3 fatty acids.