Written by: Allison Tannis BSc MSc RHN
Canadian men live in a unique landscape with dark falls and cold winters. As such, survival in our climate has unique nutritional needs. Don’t let the effects of fall weather trip up your health – discover a supplement regime that can help.
Nutrient: Multivitamin with Vitamin D
There is little vitamin D production in the skin during the dark days of fall and winter. This disrupts the body’s calcium and phosphate metabolism and inhibits bone growth. Deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked to diseases including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders and seasonal affective disorder. Small amounts of vitamin D can be found in wild caught salmon, mushrooms, fortified milk and soy-almond milks, but it may not be enough. With the help of a vitamin D supplement you can combat the darkness of fall. Not sure which supplement to choose? Try a quality Canadian-made multivitamin that’s formulated specifically for men – as it will be sure to include vitamin D and other nutrients men need to stay healthy in the dark days of fall.
Power of Colour
Nutrient: Multivitamin, Vegetable/Berry Powder
There are fewer hours of sunlight in the fall. This has powerful effects on nature. They are evident outside with the dramatic change in leaf colour. Inside your body it disrupts your internal sleep-wake cycle. The body knows to be awake or asleep based on information sent from sensors in the eyes the hypothalamus in the brain. The darker days of autumn and winter disrupts this cycle, causing some people to suffer from sleep problems, lethargy and moodiness. Luckily, you can shake off that sleepy head with the bounty of vegetables and fruits available in the fall – they are packed with energizing nutrients. When the snow falls and the fresh foods are gone, you can keep enjoying the feeling of health that comes with eating lots of fruits and vegetables with a few scoops of a vegetable/berry powder.
Nutrient: Whey Protein Isolate
The chill in the autumn air propels us to eat more in preparation for colder weather to come. By eating more we create a layer of fat to help insulate us. This winter, let sweaters be your insulation and keep your toned summer abs. Enjoy a slim waistline in autumn with the help of protein. Protein is a sustained energy source that leaves you feeling full longer and feeling full prevents overeating. This doesn’t mean you should eat steaks and chicken wings every night– maintaining a healthy weight involves low-fat protein-rich foods such as nuts, seeds and beans. Protein powders are also a great option as they are convenient, low in fat and contain branch chain amino acids that support immunity. Need some help finding a good protein powder? Consider these facts: researchers have found whey protein to be an excellent nutritional choice; some of the world’s cleanest whey proteins come from New Zealand. A good protein powder will also contain complementary support nutrients to optimize digestion, utilization and compatibility, but will not contain artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners.
Sugary treats draw us in - eating sugar causes dopamine release in the part of the brain associated with reward and motivation. It is no wonder we love sugar. Sugar’s powerful effects on the body go beyond our taste buds. Researchers suggest it causes obesity and has profound effects on our brains. At the University of California researchers found when rats were given fructose syrups, instead of water, they were slower to complete a maze. The sugar disrupted synapses (relay chemical messages) disrupting the ability of the brain to form memories. When the researchers replaced the rat’s water with omega-3 fatty acids, the rats completed the maze faster. Be smart and healthy this fall – carve out of your diet the sugary ghost and goblin treats and rake more omega-3s onto your plate. Putting fish on your plate is one way to get the brain-healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s, or some find fish oil supplements more convenient and potent. A good choice is cold-water, ecologically sustainable fish oils from quality Canadian manufacturers.