Supplements: Essential vs. Nice-to-have
By be_healthful on June 30, 2014
A bunch of you have asked what my supplement regime is, so I thought it'd be fun to talk about supplements as a whole and delve into the ones I use and why. As much as I'd love to believe that money grows on trees, it doesn't. So when it comes to having a conversation about supplements, I can understand why people get scared of it. The good news is, is that you don't need to drown in supplement bills to live a happy and healthy life.
Generally speaking, the essentials that everyone needs are:
- Multi-vitamin. Because [unfortunately] no matter how clean you eat, there's just not enough nutrients in our soil to provide you with all of the macro + micro nutrients you need.
- Omega-3. Omega 3 + 6 play a balancing game. If one is low, the other is high, and vice versa. Our diets are naturally high in omega-6, so we need to supplement with omega-3 to keep that balance.
- Probiotics. I can't tell you the last time I met a client that didn't have issues with their digestive or intestinal system. We run our digestion to the MAX from the time we move from our mothers milk, to our last day. So it's no wonder we're deficient in healthy bacteria! [For more information on healthy bacteria, checkout this post]
Essentials: Personal Picks
Vitamin Code is a raw form of multivitamins created by Garden of Life. Garden of Life is one of my favorite supplement companies. Their supplements are sourced from real food, the have high standards, and they truly stand behind their commitment to offering the best products to the consumer.
I am new to Ascenta products, but have already fallen madly in love! When shopping for an omega-3 supplement, there are a couple of things I look for:
- Ratio of EPA to DHA.
- complement your diet: 1.5 EPA to every DHA [I use this ratio]
- joint health: 4.5EPA:1DHA
- heart health: 2EPA:1DHA
- brain performance: 1EPA:5DHA
- Price comparison to competitors.
- Source of omega-3. Herringand sardines harbor some of the highest levels of heart-healthy omega-3.
I am an unfaithful probiotics user. I jump from product to product. But you know what, that's a good thing! I am of the school of thought that the more you try, the more diverse your bacteria. Things I look for in a probiotic supplement are:
- Dairy free
- Sugar free
- Minimal ingredients
- Powdered form. This is a preference thing. I like it powdered so I know all of it will be used.
- Single vs. dual celled. Single species are good if you're fighting a specific health issue. If you're just taking probiotics to support your health, a dual celled bacteria is best.
Depending on someone's history and current state of health, additional supplements may be essential. My personal essentials are evening primrose oil + B complex.
Personal Essentials: Personal Picks
Makes my PMS much more bearable. I still crave chocolate, but I don't want to scream, cry, and jump for joy, all in a matter of seconds. Evening primrose oil also acts as a cheap relationship therapist. Trust me.
Vitamin B complex [source]
Assists with stress + energy support. I do not take this daily, only when I need it!
In addition to the supplements above, I also rely on:
- Spirulina. Used as a protein supplement and energy booster from time to time. Check out my post on spirulina here.
- Vitamin D drops. My best bud during the dark and dreary days of Winter.
So there you have it. Moral of the story is: find a good multi-vitamin, probiotic, and fish oil and you'll be set. Unless of course you have some underlying health issues that need addressing, but for most of us, getting on this minimalistic supplement regime will do wonders for our health.
Are you a supplement taker?
What's your favorite supplement company? Do you find it challenging to remember to take your supplements? I battled with this problem for years until I setup a supplement schedule. I found 2 things in my day that I do everyday no matter what. Breakfast + Lunch. Every time I purchase a new bottle of supplements, I separate 1/2 and place it in my lunch kit, and the other stays in the fridge at home. Breakfast smoothie = supplements Grabbing lunch = supplements
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