“What are the top supplements you recommend?” If I have heard that question once, I have heard it a thousand times over my years of coaching nutrition. Especially these days.
We are inundated with messages of needing all types of supplements because our environment, our stress levels, and the poor quality of our food. There are tons of supplements out on the market that can meet your every need.
With all this information, do you finding yourself asking the question “BUT what do I really need?”
Yeah, me too. Therefore I have summed up my top supplement recommendations that will benefit most people. This is a general recommendation. You may have specific nutritional needs due to imbalance in hormones, lots of physical or emotional stress, an illness or chronic disease, or low levels of certain nutrients. If that is you, I would love to help customize a supplement and nutrition plan for you. Contact me here.
1. A high quality based, whole foods multivitamin
Ideally, we should be getting all the nutrients our body needs from food. Eating whole foods gives us more than just a single vitamin, mineral, or nutrient, it gives us a host of them. For example, an orange has more than just Vitamin C. It is filled with fiber, water, folate, B vitamins, potassium, and calcium (just to name a few). You get more bang for your buck when you eat an orange than when you take a Vitamin C supplement.
Another reason is that the digestive system is meant to breakdown food for best absorption. If we skip a part of the digestive process (we swallowed a pill instead of chewing our food), we may not experience the best digestion and absorption of the nutrients we need.
In American society, it is hard to get all the nutrients we need from the food that is produce and because of our busy lifestyles. Processed food in America is often chemically altered, hormone injected, or preservative loaded making it hard to receive the best nutrients from it. Or we are just too busy to take time to eat whole, nutritious foods. Since we cannot control the first reason (we can absolutely control the second, but we will save this discussion for another blog!), it can be beneficial to supplement the food we eat with a high quality multivitamin.
What to look for in a multivitamin:
- Plant based
- A range of B vitamins (for energy) and Vitamin D3 (for strong bones)
- Third party research (make sure the supplement has undergone research done by a third party, not just by the parent company).
2. A Probiotic
85% of your immune system is in your gut. That means that the health of your gut has a HUGE impact on the way you feel, think, and work each day.
Do you ever feel bloated after you eat? Maybe even sluggish? Most likely, your body is not properly digesting the food you have just eaten. Every person needs healthy bacteria in their gut to promote proper digestion of food and absorption of nutrients (think vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein). And if the food you are eating is being properly digested and the nutrients absorbed, you will feel the difference! You will have more energy and think more clearly during the day. Your joints will not ache as much. You won’t have as many headaches. Your skin will look radiant and healthy.
Take a probiotic every morning before breakfast and I promise, you will notice a difference in how you feel and how you look.
What to look for in a probiotic:
- The number of different strands of bacteria it includes. Specifically look for L. acidophilus, B. longum, and B bifidum
- Product delivery system ensures a significantly high percentage of bacteria will reach your gut alive and the packaging protects the bacteria from too much exposure to light, heat, and moisture
- An expiration date to ensure the bacteria remains active and potent
*One of my favorites is Garden of Life Probiotics and can be found in most health sections of grocery stores or vitamin shops.
3. Omega 3 fatty acids
There are 2 types of essential fatty acids (fatty acids that we must get from our food since our body does not produce it), Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Us Americans tend to have an imbalance between these two (more Omega 6s than Omega 3s) because our diets are rich in vegetables oils from processed foods (think pancake mix to chips). This imbalance could very well be the root of many diseases Americans battle such as asthma or arthritis or even heart disease (ongoing studies are showing the potential link). Therefore getting these two back in proper balance by eating Omega 3 rich foods and/or taking a supplement, can help prevent or alleviate some of the symptoms of these diseases.
What should you do? The best way to get Omega 3 fatty acids is to eat it. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are fish that contain high amounts of Omega 3s. Just make sure they are of premium quality (wild caught versus farm-raised). Walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, acai berries are plant based and safe foods rich in Omega 3s.
But you may not like any of these foods or they are just too hard to get into your eating plan each week. If so, take an Omega 3 supplement.
What to look for in an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement:
- An algae based DHA supplement. Fish get their Omega 3s from algae so you can too!
- The kind and amount of fatty acids. You want 700 to 1,000 mg of EPA and 200 - 500 mg of DHA
- Free of heavy metals such as mercury and lead as well as environmental toxins such as PCB