Vitamins and Minerals: How Much do You Really Need?

AUBURN, Ala.- -We hear so much about the value of vitamins and minerals in helping to improve our health — but how do we know what kind and how much is the right amount?

Sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals are essential because they perform hundreds of functions in the body. They help build strong bones, strengthen your immune system, give you energy, heal injuries, and repair cells.

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Vitamins are substances that the body requires for development and growth. There are 13 vitamins that are needed by the body on a regular basis. These 13 essential vitamins are: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K and the B vitamins, which are thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12.

According to Donna R. Shanklin, a Regional Extension Agent for Human Nutrition, Diet & Health: “You can usually get all your vitamins from the foods you eat. Your body can also make vitamins D and K,” said Shanklin. “The best way to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods. In some cases, you may need to take vitamin supplements. It’s a good idea to ask your health care provider first. High doses of some vitamins can cause problems.”

With so much depending upon their existence, it is essential you get these vitamins daily, and is actually much easier than some would think. Here are a few tips to insure you get what you need:

  • Vitamin A – Eat a sweet potato, it provides more than 100% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin A!
  • Vitamin C – Make fresh fruit a part of every breakfast. A handful of strawberries or some cantaloupe provides the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
  • Vitamin E – Eat 2 handfuls of almonds.

Minerals are equally important to insure good health. Minerals are vital for building bones, producing hormones and regulating body functions such as your heartbeat. There are two kinds of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals are minerals your body needs in larger amounts. The macrominerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur. Trace minerals, as the name implies, are only needed in small amounts, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. These include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium, calcium and zinc. You also need calcium, magnesium, zinc. The best way to get sufficient amounts of these minerals is by eating a wide variety of foods. However, if your doctor finds them lacking, he/she may recommend a mineral supplement.

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Some simple ways to incorporate minerals into your diet:

  • Eat beef, chicken and fortified cereals to increase iron levels.
  • Drink milk, eat spinach and beans to provide the calcium your body needs.
  • Add more crab, beef and pork to insure proper amounts of zinc.

Bottom line? Incorporating the right amounts of vitamins and minerals into your diet is extremely important for your health. Although these nutrients are readily available through supplements, the easiest and most economical way to insure you are getting the right amount of what you need is by eating a balanced diet.

Staying Fit this Fall

AUBURN, Ala.— Tis the season of chilly weather, big comfy sweaters and relaxing breaks from work and school. With the changing weather, the busyness of the holidays and holiday indulgences, a good fitness regimen and healthy eating habits can be difficult to maintain. But this season can actually be a perfect time to begin a new exercise routine that will keep you healthy throughout the holidays and continue into the New Year.

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Starting a fitness regimen in the fall will help you during the holiday season to avoid the pitfalls of overeating and growing idle. The Eat Healthy, Be Active Program provides helpful guidelines for healthy eating and exercise that are perfect for creating an individual plan to stay in shape.

The Eat Healthy, Be Active program is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. According to these guidelines, there are some simple rules that are key to creating a successful fall fitness regimen:

Balancing Calories:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase:

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Decrease:

  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose foods with lower sodium numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

In addition to making healthy food choices, incorporating physical activity into your regimen is vital. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, healthy eating, and physical activity work hand-in-hand to help us live healthier lives. The Physical Activity Guidelines recommend:

  • At least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of physical activity for adults — children need 60 minutes each day.
  • Stay physically active by doing activities such as walking, dancing, bicycling, or gardening and by reducing the amount of time you spend sitting.

Dr. Onikia Brown, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System Specialist and Auburn University Assistant Professor of Nutrition, gave some helpful tips for starting a fitness regimen. “A good fitness program is a program that fits the individuals level, increases heart rate and has anaerobic and aerobic components,” Brown said. During the fall it is important to remember to make time for exercise every day, even during vacations or colder weather.

“Consider the possibility of working out in small increments of time instead of large chunks of time,” Brown added. “For example, six, 10-minute power walks/stretching instead of 60 minutes. Schedule time to get and stay active. Plan to be active even when you are on vacation. Get an exercise partner for accountability. Make goals and reward yourself for accomplishing your goal.”

In addition to daily activity, avoiding the pitfalls of unhealthy eating and overindulging during the fall can be difficult. Dr. Brown suggests planning meals during the holidays. Keep track of what you eat in a food journal to prevent overindulging. When cooking, substitute healthier ingredients and avoid making dishes that are high in sugar.

Exercise and eating right this fall, will not only help you feel great about yourself now but will prevent the normal setbacks of the holiday season. Start a regimen now and you will not need a New Year’s resolution!

Be the Dot. Be the Difference.

AUBURN, Ala.– For the several semesters, green dots appeared across Auburn University’s campus, representing the launch of the Green Dot Bystander Intervention Program at Auburn.

Photo from we.auburn
Photo from we.auburn

“Nationally, we are seeing alarming trends involving interpersonal violence, cases are steadily increasing and violence incidents are happening more and more often,” Graduate Assistant for the Health and Wellness Center, Amanda Fishman, said.

According to a report by Amy Weaver on the Auburn University website, one in three women and one in five men will be victims of domestic and dating violence. Additionally, one in four women and one in ten men will be sexually assaulted.

While many organizations deal with the aftermath of interpersonal violence, the purpose of the Green Dot is to prevent it by changing the culture at Auburn University, making violence no longer acceptable.
According to the Live the Green Dot website, the Green Dot program aims to replace moments of violence with moments of support and safety. “Live the Green Dot” uses a map to demonstrate the impact students can have on the widespread violence. Imagine a map was posted in the student center depicting each act of campus violence with a red dot, then adding green dots to represent preemptive student action taken that helped to stop a violent act. With the Green Dot program, red dots will eventually disappear and only green dots will remain.

“The thing that sets Green Dot apart the most is its focus on bystander interaction. It’s not about the victim or aimed at the perpetrator. It’s about how others can intervene when they see that things have gone bad,” Green Dot campaign coordinator Sarah Traylor said. According to Traylor, working on the Green Dot campaign has helped her to realize the importance of student involvement in preventing campus violence.

Fishman said that the Green Dot program is essentially about changing the culture on Auburn’s campus. “We want Auburn to be known for ‘War Eagle’, Jordan-Hare Stadium and Aubie, but also we want it to be known that violence is not tolerated here. We will not put up with it,” Fishman said.

The motto, “We.Auburn,” adopted by Green Dot, reflects the idea that it is going to take the whole campus coming together as the Auburn family to make a change. Green Dot is about changing a culture and no longer tolerating any kind of violence.

The Green Dot program launched on October 29, 2015, but many Auburn students are still unaware of the program. “The Green Dot program is just getting launched, but I think slowly people are starting to recognize it. It’ll take time, but the more that students like my classmates and I spread the word, the sooner we can end violence at Auburn,” Green Dot Student Assistant Katherine Chacon said.
In addition, Chacon said that since the campaign launched, she noticed a buzz on campus about Green Dot. “The best thing for students to do in the first years of the program is to start talking about it. Students involved with Green Dot need to get conversations started and get the word out,” Fishman said.

Fishman explained that the Green Dot program offers many resources to help campus organizations and individuals get involved. Interested parties can go online to we.auburn and request a Green Dot Program Trainer to meet with their organization or group.

Kappa Alpha Theta ladies after a Green Dot training session
Kappa Alpha Theta ladies after a Green Dot training session

According to Auburn’s Green Dot program website during Green Dot sessions, participants are informed about the purpose of Green Dot and are trained to be proactive bystanders when witnessing acts of violence. “We want to empower people to see how easy it is to intervene in a situation and prevent violence from ever happening,” said Fishman.

How many green gots will it take to end interpersonal violence at Auburn? According to members of the Green Dot program at Auburn, it will take the Auburn family coming together as a whole to restore the safety of the students on Auburn’s campus.

Carbohydrates: Good or Bad for You?

AUBURN, Ala.–Sad that you can never eat bread, pasta or sugar again? If so, you are like most Americans who have read the recent warnings that carbohydrates cause weight gain and contribute to diabetes and heart disease. Low-carb diets and cutting out carbs completely are widely thought of as ways to lose weight. But are carbohydrates really all bad?

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Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates provide major health benefits and should be incorporated into your diet in moderation. While some carbohydrate-heavy foods like pasta and sugar lack nutritional benefits, others such as fruit and legumes are nutrient-rich. According to Sharon Haynes, Alabama Extension County Extension Coordinator and Human Nutrition and Health Expert, carbohydrates provide three major health benefits.

Provide energy

Carbohydrates give your body energy in the form of calories. “All your activities need energy. Simple activities such as walking or even breathing need energy. The main source of energy required for your daily requirements comes from glucose. The source of glucose comes from the starches and sugars you eat,” Haynes said. Without carbohydrates in your diet, you will lack the necessary energy you need throughout the day, and your body will not be able to function as productively.

Prevent Diseases

Complex carbohydrates are high in dietary fiber. Your body also slowly digests them. “The fibrous food provides your body the ammunition needed to fight certain diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. Fiber helps indigestion and helps keep cholesterol and heart diseases under control,” Haynes said.

Control Weight

Discrediting the myth that carbohydrates only make you gain weight, Haynes said, “Carbohydrates get blamed for weight gain, but if eaten properly, they can help reduce or control weight. A proper diet of fruits, vegetables and fibrous foods can actually help an individual with weight loss. A diet rich in carbohydrates can also help control muscle tone.” Carbohydrates aid in building muscle, so if you are exercising daily, it is important to incorporate carbohydrates into your diet.

Carbohydrates can play a healthy role in your diet but it all depends on how many or how much you eat. According to the Mayo Clinic, 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. If you are eating too many unhealthy carbs, your body will store the extra energy as fat, which can lead to weight gain.

“Individuals should practice portion control with carb-heavy foods to avoid exceeding their calorie budget and to control their weight. Too many carbs might also negatively impact blood sugar levels. Be careful with refined carbs — sugar or white carbs such as white bread and pasta. They digest quickly and can cause a pronounced spike in your blood sugar levels. Over time, eating too many carbs can negatively affect your ability to control blood sugar levels,” said Haynes.

One of the biggest reasons that eating carbs in moderation is important is because people who eat a higher glycemic index diet — one full of carb-rich foods that cause blood sugar spikes — face a higher risk of developing Type-2 Diabetes, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Choose carbs wisely and try to choose carbs that are from natural sources rather than through processed foods.

With all the negative press, finding the right source and amount of carbs is a challenge. Sharon Hayes offers some tips to help you make healthy carb choices:

Incorporate fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. Aim for whole fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables without added sugar. They are a better option than fruit juices and dried fruits, which are concentrated sources of natural sugar and have more calories. Whole fruits and vegetables add fiber, water and bulk, which help you feel fuller on fewer calories.
Choose whole grains. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium, than refined grains.
Stick to low-fat dairy products. Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein, plus many other vitamins and minerals. Choose the low-fat versions to help limit calories and saturated fat.
Eat more beans and legumes. Legumes, which include beans, peas and lentils, are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat; contain no cholesterol; and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also have beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber.
Limit added sugars. There are no health advantages to consuming any amount of added sugar. In fact, too much added sugar can lead to such health problems as tooth decay, poor nutrition and weight gain.

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If you follow a few simple guidelines, carbs are no longer the enemy of a healthy diet. By eliminating unhealthy choices and incorporating healthier options, not only will carbs do no harm but they also will contribute to improving your overall health.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

AUBURN, Ala.–With the baby boomer population reaching 65+ in record numbers, Alzheimer’s disease has now become a mainstream topic of conversation. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it now ranks in the top 10 causes of death in America — and a cure is a long way off. With such far reaching and painful effects on so many Americans, the Alzheimer’s Association is dramatically increasing their fundraising efforts to prevent this debilitating disease. Walk to End Alzheimer’s, an Auburn-Opelika fundraiser will be held Oct. 30, commencing on the Campus Green by Jordan-Hare Stadium.Auburn Sigma Kappas at Walk to End Alzheimer's

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s, event is part of the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Held every year in more than 600 communities across America, this walk allows people of all ages to come together to make a difference.

“Signing up for the walk gets you to the starting line fundraising and helps us find a cure. There is no fee to register,” said Special Events Coordinator, Amanda Prince. “You can also be a “virtual” walker if you can’t attend the event on Sunday, October 30th. Or you can volunteer to help with the race on the day-of.

Participants can register in a variety of ways, with teams or individually. Every dollar that is raised from the walk will benefit those affected by Alzheimer’s disease in the Auburn community.

“The Alzheimer’s Association uses walk funds to further the care, support, and research efforts to hopefully end Alzheimer’s,” Prince said.

There will be a promise garden at the event where walkers can purchase different colored flowers to signify the impact that Alzheimer’s has had on them personally.

“One of the unique aspects of the walk is the promise garden,” Prince said. “Blue represents someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Purple is for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease. Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Orange is for everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s. When you start walking, the flowers are all collected and ‘planted,’ and when you finish, it is a visual of how the disease effects our community.”

Like so many others participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Prince has a very personal connection to the disease.

“I walk and help to organize the walk to honor my mother who is in the final stages of early onset Alzheimer’s,” she said. “Our team is Linda’s Loafers. My mom had a love of fancy handbags and shoes. If she liked a shoe she would buy it in all the colors. We lost both her parents and her aunts to the disease.”

The pain of watching a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s is devastating.

Amanda Prince and family at Walk to End Alzheimer's“Alzheimer’s is the worst thing that has happened to my family,” Prince said. “You can’t imagine what it is like to be forgotten by your parent or to see them struggle with simple things. My mom worked for the phone company and she can’t work a phone. It’s robs them and the family. I have a 2-year-old and 4-year-old that will never know my mom. My daughter loves shoes and purses — they would have had so much fun shopping.”

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s offers members of the Auburn – Opelika community a chance to make a difference, save lives and support loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Until there is a cure, the Auburn – Opelika community is committed to raising awareness and money through this annual event.

Going Global with Auburn Abroad

The Auburn Study Abroad Fair, hosted by the Auburn University Office of International Programs, was held Tuesday, September 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first floor of the Haley Center. Booths surrounded the entire perimeter of the bottom floor of the Haley Center.Study abroad fair

Each booth represented an Auburn study abroad program, internship or service abroad program, or study abroad organizations that partner with Auburn University. The fair also provided passport services, with representatives from the Lee County Circuit Clerk there to help students begin the application process. Hundreds of students were in attendance along with

Auburn faculty and staff interested in Auburn’s study abroad programs.

Studying abroad has become increasingly popular with Auburn students during their university career. Not only do these programs provide exciting and challenging experiences but also the opportunity to prepare for a career in our globalized world. For many students, the possibility of studying abroad is incredibly appealing, but can be very daunting as well. From choosing a country to study in, to picking the right program, to making living arrangements and acquiring a passport, many students struggle with finding the perfect fit.

Study abroad fairTo make the process easier, the Auburn Study Abroad Fair provided representatives from each program to answer questions, explain the details of their offering, and help students determine which programs would match their interests. Each booth provided informational brochures and flyers, along with photos from past trips for students to preview.

Beyond Auburn sponsored programs, the Study Abroad Fair also showcased numerous internship and service abroad programs, providing students with options beyond the classroom. Organizations including CAPA -The Global Education Network and The Knowledge and Exchange Institute, brought representatives who educated students about internship options abroad. A variety of service

abroad programs were also in attendance, including the Peace Corps and an array of other options, for those students desiring an opportunity to invest in another culture.

One student from a previous study abroad London trip, Sydney Royer, spoke about her experiences, “Studying abroad was the highlight of my college career, I think as many students as possible should have an experience like this and I hope to encourage the students here today to embark on such an amazing journey.” Students in attendance were extremely engaged and grateful to have gained such valuable insight. Many were even able to select a program and begin the application process as a result of their participation. Even Aubie made an appearance at the fair to visit booths and take pictures with students!

Social Media Release: Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Auburn University

Note: The below social media release is a proof-of-content assignment for a class.


On Sunday, October 30, 2016, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, an Auburn-Opelika fundraiser will be commencing on the Campus Green by Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s, event is part of the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Held every year in more than 600 communities across America, this walk allows people of all ages to come together to make a difference. You can register for the race here.


The Walk to End Alzheimer’s event helps to change the level of Alzheimer’s awareness in the community. The Alzheimer’s Association is a global organization, working to advance care, support and research across the world. From face-to-face support to online education programs and promising worldwide research initiatives, the money you raise makes a difference in the lives of those facing Alzheimer’s.


  • Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented cured or slowed.
  • One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
  • 78% of the funds from the Walk to End Alzheimer’s go to Alzheimer’s care, support, research, awareness and advocacy. 16% goes to fundraising and 6% to administration.
  • The Walk to end Alzheimer’s fundraising helps to pass landmark legislation such as the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which mandated a national plan to fight Alzheimer’s.
  • Funds from the walk go towards working to ensure federal policy reflects the urgency of the Alzheimer’s epidemic, resulting in unprecedented funding increases, including a historic $350 million increase.


“Alzheimer’s is the worst thing that has happened to my family. You can’t imagine what it is like to be forgotten by your parent or to see them struggle with simple things. My mom worked for the phone company and she can’t work a phone. It’s robs them and the family. I have a two year old and four year old that will never know my mom. My daughter loves shoes and purses, they would have had so much fun shopping. I walk and help to organize the walk to honor my mother who is in the final stages of early onset Alzheimer’s.”-Amanda Prince, Auburn Walk to End Alzheimer’s walk coordinator.




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Relevant Links:


Walk to End Alzheimer’s website