As a nutritionist, I always promote getting your necessary nutrients from whole foods first. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, quality meat and fish are the best sources of everything essential to our bodies. A vitamin and mineral supplement is not meant to replace a healthy diet. Unfortunately, with busy lives and the quality of our food sources diminishing, supplementing can fill in those gaps we may lack from our diet from day go day to ensure optimal health.
The supplement world can be overwhelming. There’s new information coming out constantly. We’re being told that we should take a number of supplements regularly to promote good health - but this can become super costly and not to mention it’s crowding our cabinets. Besides, who wants to take 10 supplements a day?? Here’s my top 4 supplements you should take regularly to ensure optimal health.
Otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is necessary for bone health as it regulates calcium in the body. Food sources include fatty fish like salmon, eggs, beef liver and cheese.
Vitamin D deficiency can be common for vegans, vegetarians and for those of us living in more northern climates with less sun exposure. Symptoms include frequent colds, fatigue, back and muscle pain, bone loss and hair loss. In the fall and winter seasons, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a common symptom of deficiency as well - lethargy, sluggishness, depression, appetite and weight fluctuations. Remember that safe sun exposure is important for vitamin D intake, at least 20 minutes a day is recommended.
Probiotics keep our gut friendly bacteria thriving and bad bacteria at bay. These live microorganisms help lower inflammation, boost the immune system and restore gut flora. They are especially good to take after a course of antibiotics where good bacteria is killed off with the bad.
The most common strain, lactobacillus, is found in yogurt and fermented foods such as kimchi and kombucha and aids with digesting lactose and with diarrhea. The bifidobacterium strain is particularly good for irritable bowel syndrome.
Probiotics also aid in skin conditions, urinary and vaginal health (preventing yeast infections) and preventing allergies.
Best taken 30 minutes before or with food for optimal survival.
Taking a quality multi-vitamin is a great way to get an extra boost of nutrients that we may not have found in the diet that day. I recommend naturally derived over synthetic multis. Here’s why!
Supplements that are naturally derived are extracted from actual fruits, vegetables and grains making them more bioavailable and preferred by the body.
Synthetic vitamins are cheaper to produce and therefore less costly and also have a longer shelf life BUT as similar as they may seem to the food derived sources, they’re not identical and are not recognized and used by the body as effectively.
When choosing a multivitamin and mineral product always check for fillers because the less the better. Also look for quality ingredients and brand transparency i.e a reputable brand/website that is clear with where and how their product is made.
Take your multivitamin with food for optimal absorption.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for heart, brain and skin health. They prevent heart disease, help lower blood pressure, improve cognitive health and improve skin health and elasticity. It is an essential fatty acid which means we cannot produce it and must obtain it from the diet or in supplement form.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is found in plant oils such as flaxseed while eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in fish and seafood.
Take your Omega 3 supplement with meals.
With that said always, always, always aim to get your nutrients from a healthy diet first. Our body absorbs nutrients best from actual food sources.
Here’s some of my favourite supplement brands I recommend checking out:
Comment any questions below!