A walk through a health food store can be pretty intimidating. With thousands of nutritional supplements to choose from, how do you know which ones you need?
There are many valid reasons to take nutritional supplements. They can help combat the effects of stress, slow the aging process, boost immunity, and deter the progression of many diseases. Where do you begin? A good quality multivitamin is an excellent start, and here are a few others to consider keeping in your medicine cabinet:
A multivitamin: The best time to take a multivitamin/mineral supplement is with breakfast, as long as your meal includes some protein and fat to help deliver the nutrients to their target points. Some products are designed to be taken in divided doses, two to three times a day. Rather than tablets, purchase capsules. They are easier to absorb and contain fewer fillers. Your urine should have a bright yellow hue shortly after taking your multi.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D3 is the one to buy. The fat-soluble vitamin is being shown to protect us from many health problems ranging from the flu to various forms of cancer. Most experts and physicians now recommend a minimum of 1,000 IU daily, and some recommend up to 10,000 IU! Discuss your vitamin D levels with your doctor to determine how much you need.
Omega 3: Fish oil (or a vegetarian version of omega-3) is essential for healthy immunity, joint protection, and reduces inflammation, thereby protecting us from heart disease and injury. Take at least 1,000 mg daily for overall health, but you can take up to 4,000mg or more if you have an inflammatory condition. In addition, eat least three servings a week of omega-3-rich fish.
Probiotics: This supplement – live bacterial cultures - is stored in the refrigerator rather than in the supplement cupboard. A probiotic supplement helps build healthy intestinal flora, providing powerful immune system defense. Fermented foods like kefir and kimchi are good natural sources of probiotic cultures, but if such foods aren’t eaten daily, a supplement is crucial.
Digestive enzymes: You’ll be grateful to have these in stock, especially after a holiday meal or wedding. These supplements help the digestive system break down various nutrients and can help prevent or alleviate gas, bloating, heartburn and acid reflux. Specific enzymes are available for the digestion of protein, fat, starch, beans, dairy products, gluten – you name it; or look for a ‘complete’ enzyme formula that is all-purpose.
Oil of Oregano: A powerful herb with natural antibiotic and antiviral properties, whether it’s a cold coming on or a toothache, oregano oil can be used at the first sign of infection. A few drops under the tongue should do the trick. Look for a brand with a high carvacrol content.
Arnica: A homeopathic remedy, arnica is an effective universal treatment for cuts, bruises or other minor injuries. Arnica is available as a topical cream and ointment, and also as a tincture, poultice and compress.
To ensure you’re getting the best quality products, purchase your supplements directly from a health food store rather than from a department store, supermarket or pharmacy.
Remember that supplements are in addition to a healthy diet and are not supposed to replace healthy food.