I am a complete advocate of healing and thriving with food. However, there are times in our lives when specific supplementation can be useful for a specific period of time to help your body achieve balance. I’m frequently being asked what supplements to use and if supplements are really worth it. The short answer is that most vitamins on today’s market are not worth the cost. The best way to get the vitamins and minerals our body needs is by eating diverse and abundant diet rich in plant-powered fuel. However there are a few All-Star supplements that could change the game for your health when combined with a healthy diet. Always check with your doctor before starting any new dietary or supplementary changes. Below are a few of my favorites:
Magnesium Long-term symptoms of low magnesium or mineral deficiency can manifest into constipation, muscle twitches, PMS, PMDD, chronic migraines, insomnia and more. Magnesium also plays a huge role in regulating cholesterol, preventing depression and balancing insulin in the body. Even though magnesium is easily found in food, more than 70% of American adults are magnesium deficient. Tip: Take a small magnesium supplement at night, for some it may cause drowsiness. If/when your stool becomes too soft, that is a sign to reduce or stop taking supplemental magnesium. Some of my favorite food sources of magnesium include: chia seeds, spinach, quinoa, lentils and hemp seeds.
B Complex Aside from helping with the effects of hormonal imbalance such as low energy and slow metabolism, deficiency in some B vitamins can leave your hair and nails dull and brittle. Long term deficiency in B6 levels can cause inflammation, a progesterone imbalance and irregular menstrual cycles. Supplementing with a high quality, food based B complex complex can help to balance the health of your hair, hormones, nervous system, skin, nails, regulate blood sugar levels, boost energy and much more. Tip: Always take your B vitamins with food. Some of my favorite food sources of B vitamins (and B6) include: avocado, sunflower seeds, spinach, spirulina.
Probiotics Because the majority of your immune system, hormone production and nutrient absorption is taking place in your gut, you need a host of healthy bacteria to efficiently perform these functions. Probiotics can be taken daily to help improve the gastro-intestinal environment and boost your overall health. Our our digestive system is home to more than 500 different types of bacteria which help in balancing intestinal health and digesting food. Antibiotics fight the bad bacteria and probiotics help feed the good guys. You need em’! Tip: When taking antibiotics always increase your probiotic content to balance bacteria in your gut environment. Some of my favorite food sources of probiotics include: pickled vegetables, sauerkraut and coconut kefir.
Turmeric Turmeric is actually a root, used often as a spice. Nutritionally it contains powerful anti-inflammatory, compounds that also support brain health, liver detoxification, stabilize blood sugar and fight some types of cancer. Used as both medicine and food for centuries, this traditional and ancient spice can be daily. Since it is not practical to consume as much turmeric as needed daily to receive the health benefits, I love to take turmeric supplements. You can also use turmeric powder is smoothies and whole juices, as well as in soups and main dishes. Tip: Save money and make your own turmeric supplements by hand-packing freeze-dried organic turmeric into empty vegetable capsules.
Quality Fish Oil The thing about essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3 is they need to maintain a delicate balance to optimize your health. When out of balance, too much omega-6 can break down your good health. With an abundance of omega-6 in today’s diet, combined with low consumption of food sources for omega-3, supplementing may be needed. When it comes to omega-3, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are important. Excellent in fighting inflammation, depression, boosting metabolic rate and immune function, as well as improving cholesterol and insulin levels – a quality fish oil from fresh, cold water fish can be absolutely tremendous for your health. It is crucial to look for fish oils that have a quality carrier oil (not soybean oil or other poor quality oil) and also triple check the quality of the fish oil, making certain it has been tested. Check for the source of the fish oil and always read your labels. Tip: You can do an at home test on your fish oil suppplements by pushing a pin in a few of your supplements and emptying the contents into a shot glass. Freeze it over night. In the morning if the contents are frozen solid it is an indication that there is likely water in your supplements. Ideally, you should be able to push a pin through the contents with ease (like soft wax). Food sources of omega-3’s include: sardines, salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.