Sometimes a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and sustainable protein sources (like our healthy prepared meals) needs a little extra help. No, we're not talking about the colourful, flavourful chewy vitamins that we're marketed to eat at breakfast. Let's take a deeper, scientific, dive into how adding more vitamin D, magnesium and collagen can help your healthy diet and lifestyle.
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone produced from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to the sun (UVB rays), which is why vitamin D is often called “the sunshine vitamin.” Unfortunately, sun exposure rarely provides adequate vitamin D, especially when living in colder climates... Canada!
Vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium and phosphorus from your gut and helps cells related to bone health. It is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it dissolves in fats and oils, and thus can be stored in the body for long periods.
Fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna and sardines are good sources of vitamin D however you would need to eat a lot of these foods (everyday!) to receive adequate vitamin D. A vitamin D supplement like cod liver oil is a great option but there are also many plant-based vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D helps boost immune function and undergoes two conversion processes in your body to function properly. First, it is converted to calcidiol, in your liver. This is the storage form of vitamin D. Next, it is converted to calcitriol, which occurs mostly in your kidneys. This is the active, steroid-hormone form of vitamin D.
Vitamin D does not work independently. It is also crucial to optimize your vitamin A and K intakes (especially K2) as well as magnesium, which we will talk about next.
Magnesium is a mineral that's crucial to the body's function including regulating blood pressure, maintaining healthy bones as well as producing energy and building important proteins like your DNA.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in insulin and glucose metabolism. It regulates blood sugar while also reducing blood pressure and improving mood.
Your body cannot produce magnesium so you need to obtain it from your diet. Magnesium is found in legumes, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables as well as smaller amounts in meat and fish.
While there are food sources of magnesium, modern food processing & industrial agriculture makes this mineral depleted so it's a good idea to look into taking a magnesium supplement, which comes in the following main forms:
Consult a health care practitioner or doctor to determine which type of magnesium is best for you.
Collagen has been a buzz word in the health & beauty space for the past few years but did you know that collagen is the most plentiful protein in your body? It has various important roles, including providing structure to your skin and helping your blood clot.
You can think of it as the “glue” that holds things together. In fact, the word comes from the Greek word “kólla,” which means glue. Collagen is one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is also found in many other body parts, including blood vessels, corneas, and teeth.
All collagen starts off as procollagen. Your body makes procollagen by combining two amino acids, glycine and proline, as well as vitamin C.
You can help your body produce collagen by ensuring you get plenty of vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, bell peppers & strawberries), proline (found in egg whites, cabbage, asparagus & mushrooms), glycine (found in pork & chicken skin and gelatin) and copper (found in organ meats, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, cashews & lentils). Another rich source of collagen is bone broth.
You want to avoid too much sugar and refined carbohydrates in your diet as well as too much sun exposure (UV rays damage collagen production) and of course smoking - all of these things damage collagen and collagen production.
When considering a collagen supplement, look for a high quality source. Collagen peptides come in a powder that can be easily blended into coffee or a smoothie. Marine collagen, which is made from fish skin, is another good source.