A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement helps you meet your nutritional needsI but with so many brands available, it's not easy to select one. What to do…

  • Choose a multi made especially for women. Women's multis typically provide extra folic acid, which protects against heart disease, colon cancer and birth defects and extra bone-building calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.
  • Look for an age-appropriate formula. Before menopause, it is common for monthly blood loss to deplete the iron that red blood cells need-which is why women's multis often contain iron. Excess iron supplementation can damage organs, however-50 if you're postmenopausal and have no diagnosed iron deficiency, it is wise to take an iron-free multi. Some "50+" formulas also provide extra B vitamins because the body's ability to absorb these often declines with age...and/or even higher amounts of calcium and vitamin D

Good brands: Nature Made Multi for Her and Multi for Her 50+...One A Day Women's and Women's 50+ Advantage.

  • Supplement your supplement. The daily value (DV)-the government-recommended daily intake-for calcium is 1,000 mg for women ages 19 to 50 and 1,200 mg for women over 50...the DV for magnesium is 400 mg. But many multis provide just a fraction of those DVs—otherwise, the pills would be too big.

Another problem: The DV for vitamin D is 400 international units (IU), an amount that many multis provide—yet experts advise getting 1,000 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D to lower risk for osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Best: In addition to a multi, take a supplement that helps make up for these shortfalls, such as Caltrate 600-D Plus Minerals or Schiff Super Calcium-Magnesium...take additional vitamin D if necessary.

Chocolate May Be Bad for Your Bones

Older women who ate chocolate daily had an average bone density 3.1% lower than women who ate chocolate less than weekly.

Possible reason: Chocolate contains oxalate, a salt that can hinder calcium absorption...and sugar, which can increase calcium excretion.

Foods that Fight Wrinkles!

When dietary data for 4,025 women was analyzed in a recent study, those with high intakes of vitamin C and the essential fatty acid linoleic acid had fewer wrinkles than women with lower intakes.

Theory: Vitamin C is an important component in collagen synthesis (which keeps skin supple), and linoleic acid promotes normal skin structure.

For younger-looking skin: Eat vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, such as oranges and broccoli, and foods high in linoleic acid, such as soybeans and sunflower oil.

Should Those with Low Thyroid Avoid Soy?

Not necessarily. Low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) should be treated with thyroid medication, as prescribed by your doctor. Soy foods, eaten in moderation, are good sources of protein. Soy does have phytoestrogenic effects—it fools the body into thinking that it has more estrogen, which in turn may slow thyroid hormone production. But that does not mean you should avoid soy altogether-your doctor can help you find the best balance for you.

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