5 Supplements You Really Need
If you wash down your daily multivitamin with a green juice every morning, you might be patting yourself on the back for being healthy—but are you actually getting too much of a good thing? If you're eating a relatively nutritious diet, the truth is, your multivitamin isn't doing you much good.
Ideally, our bodies absorb all the nutrients they need from the food we eat—but let's face it, you probably don't have a perfect diet every single day. If your diet is really unhealthy, a multivitamin may be in order, but most of us are getting the majority of our essential nutrients from food. So unless you're chasing your Big Mac with a chocolate milkshake for every meal, popping a multivitamin is kind of redundant.
Instead, supplement only the nutrients you aren't receiving on a daily basis. Let's break down which five vitamins and minerals you need to supplement in your life and why you should kick your multivitamin habit, stat.
Magnesium is at the top of our list for a reason. An essential mineral to the human body, magnesium helps with more than 300 enzymatic processes and it's integral to DNA and RNA, so it's kind of a big deal. Bad news: the majority of us don't get enough magnesium in our daily diets and that can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, metabolic syndrome, migraines, PMS, and heart attacks. Yes, pretty much everything you don't want to happen to you. So take magnesium nightly before bed (and it will help you get a good night's sleep) for optimal benefits.
Eat: Kale, spinach, and swiss chard are all high in magnesium, but you'd need to eat almost 50 cups of raw spinach to get your daily value of magnesium. Supplement with about 300-400 mg per day.
It's your go-to vitamin when you're feeling sick, but vitamin C is good for more than just kicking the common cold. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body and it's beneficial for tissue formation. If you're an athlete, vitamin C can help you repair from your workouts and if you're a stress case, vitamin C can help stabilize your cortisol levels, so you'll feel less stressed and tired after a rough day at work. Best taken on an empty stomach, start your day with this powerful supplement.
Eat: Papaya, broccoli, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, and strawberries all offer you more than 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C. If you're watching your daily sugar consumption and don't want to eat too much fruit, training everyday, or feel a cold coming on take 65-90 mg a day.
We won't sugar-coat it—the thought of swallowing krill or fish oil every morning isn't necessarily appetizing. Kind of stinky but super potent, fish oil offers all the omega-3 DHA and EPA nutrients you need. Linked to reducing inflammation, supporting brain function and even muscle growth, fish oil is also beneficial in maintaining healthy hair and skin.
Eat: If you're regularly eating wild-caught fish or eating grass fed beef, you're already ingesting a pretty good amount of this brain-boosting fat. If you run in the opposite direction when you see a sardine, add a supplement of about 600-1000 mg per day to your diet.
If you're vegan or vegetarian, it's especially important that you make sure you're supplementing your diet with vitamin A. Found in animal byproducts, vitamin A (retinol) supports healthy vision, bones and teeth, and many metabolic functions. Vitamin A also prevents wrinkles and sagging skin—bonus.
Eat: If you're eating a hearty amount of egg yolks, organ meats and dairy products you might be getting enough vitamin A daily, but studies tell us that only 25 percent of Americans consume enough vitamin A. If you're in the other 75 percent of the population, remember to take a 5,000 IUs.
Whether you're fighting off acne, combating the flu, or running a marathon, zinc is your new best friend. Zinc is an essential mineral needed to help catalyze your body's chemical responses. Best known for its ability to boost immunity, zinc has also been studied for its effect on diabetes, macular degeneration and HIV/AIDS. Zinc is also notable for its acne-fighting powers as well as its effect on depression—it seems like there's nothing this little mineral can't do.
Eat: Most easily absorbed by your body when found in foods like shellfish and beef, zinc is also prevalent in nuts and legumes. Phytic acid, an anti nutrient found in unsprouted nuts and legumes, inhibits the absorption of zinc. Make sure you're reaping all the benefits of zinc by ingesting at least 40 mg a day.
When in doubt, rely on your daily meals to you get your nutrients. But if you think you need a little extra pick-me-up, try these five vitamins to boost your energy and health.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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