Let’s face it. We are all sufficiently lacking in the essential nutrients nowadays. With the number of processed foods readily available to us, the temptation to go to the supermarket and pick up a microwave meal overrides everything else now. And, it’s thoroughly understandable, it’s easier to do, and we don’t have to think about it.
And even though we are supposedly eating better and living longer, diabetes is at an all-time high, and the rates of cancer have increased gradually over the years, and our lifestyles are getting worse.
So, what is the solution for us to help maintain a healthy diet in spite of these circumstances? The answer lies in your bathroom cabinet (along with exercise and eating healthier of course!). Supplements are something that people can rely too heavily upon, but if you pick the right ones, you can see an improvement to your overall health, so let’s have a look at what supplements you should have.
The Supplements You Definitely Need In Your Cabinet
This is a mineral that your body uses for a lot of daily functions. Magnesium can help you relax so you can sleep better, reduces water retention, aids in metabolism, as well as increasing your energy cells. Eat a diet rich in leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, as well as dark chocolate along with a magnesium supplement to get this nutrient into your body. There are supplements like AlgaeCal that has a natural mineral extraction, but it’s also important to make sure you check out the AlgaeCal reviews on Amazon to see if it will benefit you sufficiently. Magnesium is something that needs to be replenished on a daily basis, and you can do this through diet, but a supplement will help also.
Did you know that more than one billion people worldwide suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency?
They don’t call it the sunshine vitamin for nothing! If you don’t have enough vitamin D in your body, you can’t improve your heart health, build sufficient bones, as well as experience an overall mental wellness. In fact, a lot of common ailments have been argued to be because of a lack of vitamin D. It can help you prevent colds, as well as fight infection if you already have one. It controls calcium absorption and builds strong bones and teeth while reducing your risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D may also help you to think and feel better. In older adults, it’s been found effective in improving cognitive functions and alleviating depression.
You need to make sure you are taking enough vitamin D for your body weight. The Institute of Medicine bases their recommendations on age, so they suggest at least 400 IU from birth to 12 months, 600 IU for children and adults, and 800 IU for seniors over 71. Depending on their age and medical condition, some individuals may need 2,000 to 4,000 IUs, which is still regarded as safe.
The western diet is rich in omega 6, so the lack of omega-3 in our diets needs to be counterbalanced. You can take a fish oil supplement or you can have a lot more fish in your diet. Fish oil supplements help to increase the omega-3 ratio in your body, which should be approximately 4 to 1 in favor of omega 6. But, because the modern diet is full of processed foods, the ratio tends to be 15 to 1! As a result, inflammation and disease can be at an all-time high. By taking an adequate fish oil supplement, you are helping to reduce this.
Potassium is another helpful mineral and has several important functions in the body, mostly around regulating fluid levels, nerve and muscle function, and heart rhythm. It is normally possible to get all the potassium we need from a healthy diet as it occurs naturally in many foods like salmon, sweet potatoes, bananas, oranges, and chicken. It also works alongside sodium to maintain a normal blood pressure.
Vitamin B6 is important for heart health, the digestive tract, muscular function, brain development and function, energy, and a whole lot of other bodily and metabolic processes. It’s a water-soluble nutrient that is part of the B vitamin family (8 in total) that acts as a coenzyme in the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Vitamin B6 specifically is involved in the production of hemoglobin, the protein in blood that carries oxygen throughout the body.
Vitamin B6 also helps the body make the hormones serotonin (mood regulator) and norepinephrine (stress regulator) and helps the body make melatonin (sleep regulator).
Good food sources of vitamin B6 include brewer’s yeast, bananas, cereal grains, legumes, vegetables (especially carrots, spinach and peas), potatoes, milk, cheese, eggs, fish and sunflower seeds. Eat up!
Vitamin K is another great supplement to have and is necessary for proper cell function and tissue healing. Vitamin K supports a lot of bodily processes like balancing calcium levels in the body, maintaining blood vessels, and improving bone health.
The amount of vitamin K you need will depend on your age and gender. In general, it’s recommended that adult men have 120 micrograms (mcg) of a day while adult women should have 90 mcg a day.
To increase your Vitamin K levels, feast on dark, leafy greens (which are the most common source of vitamin K) and although vegetables tend to have a lot of this nutrient, they’re not the only source. You can also add beans, tuna, blueberries, and other foods to get more vitamin K in your diet.
You’ve probably heard you need more calcium to have strong bones and a healthy body. Calcium is considered an essential mineral and has multiple health benefits. You can find calcium in dairy products, but there are other options if you’re lactose intolerant or vegan. For instance, calcium is in kale and broccoli. Many dark leafy vegetables have high levels of this mineral. It’s also in salmon and sardines. Even some nuts have calcium in them.
But beware of the risks of taking too much calcium! Common side effects of too much calcium are constipation, kidney stones, nausea, weakness, excessive thirst and the loss of appetite.
So understand how much calcium you need to take every day. The recommendations vary based on your age, gender, and health history. In general, adults need about 1,000 mg a day. However, women over the age of 70 need about 1,200 mg a day. Talk to your doctor to understand your individual need specifically.
The 6 Essential Supplements for Optimal Health
I love this video from Dr. Mike Vanderschelden, who goes over the essential supplements that you should incorporate into your diet for optimal health.
Over to you
These supplements should take their place in your medicine cabinet. But remember, supplements aren’t ever intended to be a cure-all. Make sure you have supplements in conjunction with a healthy diet and talk to your doctor to get a nutritional analysis to see what’s best for you!
What supplements do you take and how have you found them helpful?