Shortcuts for staying healthy

Most Americans aren’t getting proper nutrition.

According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control, less than 33 percent of U.S. adults are eating enough fruit, and less than 27 percent are getting their recommended daily vegetable servings. The average American diet contains many “empty” calories that can lead to obesity and even malnourishment due to lack of crucial nutrients, like fiber and calcium, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Food is the fuel our bodies need to keep them functioning properly. But even if your eating habits aren’t perfect, there are many small changes and shortcuts that can make a big nutritional impact.

Get Good Bacteria

Yogurt with live and active cultures can help with digestive tract problems, such as stomach upset, constipation and diarrhea. However, downing two to three cups of yogurt a day can be difficult, if not redundant.

Instead, many are choosing to take one to two probiotic supplements a day. In order to be effective, a probiotic should contain billions of live microflora and “good” bacteria.

The Powerful Little Red Fruit

Sixty percent of women experience urinary tract infections (UTIs), usually caused by the invasion of E. coli bacteria. While experts often recommend drinking cranberry juice, you’d need to drink about eight glasses a day to get the benefit from the cranberry. Since cranberry juice can be very tart and is often loaded with sugar and calories, drinking so much of it can be difficult.

Fortunately, you can now get all the benefits of eight glasses of cranberry juice and more in a new natural supplement, now available at stores without a prescription. One tablespoon of Cystex Liquid Cranberry Complex with Proantinox packs the healthful benefits of eight glasses of cranberry juice without the bitter taste, sugar and calories. More than just cranberry concentrate, the clinically-proven formula is bolstered by other ingredients that support bladder health and help prevent recurring UTIs, and is lactose-, sugar- and gluten-free.

Kid-Friendly Fiber

According to new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a four-year-old child should consume 25 grams of fiber daily, while an 11-year-old boy needs at least 31 grams. However, parents often struggle to get kids to eat their vegetables and other high-fiber foods.

Clever substitutions can help do the trick. Children now have fiber supplements tailored to their small physiques and finicky taste buds. For example, Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies are a delicious, dentist-approved daily fiber supplement designed to help kids, ages 2-11, boost their fiber intake when they aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables. Three gummies per day add 6 grams of fiber to a child’s daily diet, the equivalent of 21 spears of asparagus.

Something Fishy

If you don’t like fish but want the benefit of omega-3 acids, which are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and boost immune health, consider daily omega-3 supplements. For kids, a healthy alternative is flaxseed, which can be sprinkled into cereal, oatmeal or yogurt.

Each person’s health and nutritional needs are different, so consult a healthcare professional before adding supplements to your family’s diet.

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