Taking nutritional supplements is something I get asked about a lot, and something I’m often not keen on going in to. Mainly because I believe we should get everything we need from the food we eat, and we are also so individual that deficiencies can show symptoms in different ways for all of us. But sometimes, all you need is a little health supplement to get you feeling back on track.
An issue with over the counter (as opposed to over the farmer!) health supplements
When it comes to taking vitamin supplements there is a whole other conversation on the bioavailability of the supplement you are taking, and if there is actually any point taking it at all. You may have been there, in the vitamin aisle of the health food shop, wondering whether to go for the super expensive option, or stick to the cheaper version. If you’re anything like my you probably aim for the one in the middle – ‘cos that’s your best bet, right? Well you may be better off going for the more expensive one when it comes to actually being able to absorb what is in the little pill – but as I said, that’s up for debate for another time!
I thought I’d try and make it a little simpler for you, by running through some of the nutrients our body needs, why they are important, and how you can get more of them in your diet (either by upping them by where you find them naturally, or by taking a health supplement in pill form).
So here is my beginners guide to supplementation:
There are a few basics that will generally make you feel revitalised in you’re not quite feeling yourself, and these are often things we are all deficient in:
Why it’s important:
|Where to find it naturally:|
|Omega 3 fatty acids support cholesterol levels, increases bone density and supports good mood!||Oily fish such as salmon|
|Helps rebalance the bacteria in your gut!||Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and Kombucha|
|It helps your body absorb calcium, which we need for bones and teeth.||
Sunlight causes our body to make Vit D3!
On top of these, there are some energy lifters, stress relievers and supplements that will help improve the quality of your sleep:
|Why it’s important:||Where to find it naturally:|
|The B vitamins help support the production of cellular energy, increasing overall energy, decreasing stress and assisting with anti-aging!||Whole grains, eggs, meat, dark leafy greens.|
|It is an antioxidant, combating free radicals in your cells, supporting your immune system.||Exercise boosts your levels! Also find in leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower.|
|It activates enzyme reactions, crucial to nerve transmission, muscle contraction, metabolism and more!||Dark, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, avocados to name but a few source!|
|L-Theanine||A natural support for good sleep, good mood and maintaining a healthy weight.||Tea (green, black and oolong – but watch out for high levels of caffeine if you drink a lot!)|
|CoQ10||CoEnzyme Q10 is used by all your cells to generate energy, and it functions as an antioxidant.||Broccoli, dark leafy greens, nuts, fish.|
|Alpha-Lipoic Acid||Prevents cell damage, and may assist the body in improving insulin sensitivity, therefore assisting with weight maintenance.||Spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes.|
This list is by no means exhaustive, and you should consult a medical professional if you think you may be deficient and in need of supplementing. As you can see, you can find everything you need in the food you eat!
So if there is one main take away when it comes to health supplements, it would be to up your level of dark leafy greens and broccoli, have the occasional cup of tea, and get outside to exercise ; )
If you want to know more about anything discussed, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can learn more about hormones and insulin in my previous blog here, and if you aren’t sure what a healthy, balanced diet looks like then take a look at What I Eat In A Week.