What Supplements Should We Be Taking?

Healthy eating is about eating smart. You may think you’re eating all the food groups, but it’s not that easy to get every essential nutrient we need from diet alone. In addition to staying healthy, we need to exercise and sleep well.Supplements and Vitamins

Although I am a fit, healthy mother of two, I found this latest research on  nine popular vitamins & supplements (that should be included in our diet) very interesting and thought I would share it.

1. Probiotics
Helpful or beneficial bacteria are called probiotics.  Probiotics or friendly bacteria are able to alter the intestinal microflora balance favorably. They also inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria as well as promote good digestion and boost immune function and thus increase resistance to inflammation and infection. You’ll find probiotics in foods such as yogurts (with live, active cultures), kefir, fermented foods like- sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso and dark chocolate. Keep in mind that most of the time, you can’t get enough probiotics through eating foods alone, and you’ll need to take a supplement. My favorite are VSL#3 and the Dr Ohirra OMX formula.

 2. Vitamin C
According to the National Institutes of Health, consuming large amounts of Vitamin C may shorten a cold’s course by about one day. A high dose is 4,000 mg per day, taking four, 1,000 mg pills with lots of clear liquids. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so it works more effectively to flush out the virus when you drink a lot of fluid. Start at the first sign of symptoms.

3. Vitamin D
This important vitamin helps your body absorb calcium. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, or your body doesn’t absorb it well, you increase the risk for osteoporosis. Skin makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but sunscreen can reduce its production by 95%. Vitamin D is present in only a few fortified foods such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, and fatty fish like salmon & tuna. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends taking a daily 400 IU vitamin D supplement.

4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, a substance that protects against the effects of free radicals — cell-damaging molecules that can play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Vitamin E also boosts your immune system. Most people get enough vitamin E from the foods they eat,such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. Another reason to stick with food sources: Vitamin E supplements may be harmful for people who take blood thinners & other medicines.

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Experts say to eat hearty doses of fish. The recommendation is to eat fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and white fish like tilapia, halibut, and sea bass at least twice a week. They have the highest amounts of essential oils necessary for the body. Allergic to fish or just not a fan? Partake in more flax, soy, canola, and walnuts. Personally, I love all Nordic Natural EFA’s and Essential Formulas Chia Omega EPA & DHA that  contains cold-pressed chia seed oil and is fish free.

6. Calcium
As a dynamic tissue, bone is always in flux, either releasing calcium or depositing it. Your body needs enough of the mineral so that it does not have to take more from the bone than it can handle. But if you are 40 years or older, do not assume you should be taking a calcium supplement. Data from almost 24,000 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study found too much, as little as 2000 mg per day, can boost your risk of heart attack. Before reaching for a supplement, take an inventory of how much calcium you’re already obtaining from the foods you eat regularly.The recommended daily dose is 1000mg for women under 50 and 1200 mg for those over 50 and in menopause. If you eat three servings of dairy a day, you are likely getting adequate amounts.

7. Echinacea
Like Vitamin C, echinacea’s effectiveness in preventing colds is up for debate among researchers. Several clinical studies report that taking echinacea as either a tea or supplement is not effective; however, others found it can decrease the odds of developing the cold by 45% – 58%. Echinacea seems to be most effective if started when cold symptoms are first noticed and continued for 7 to 10 days. Daily dosage is two to four cups of tea or two, 2,000 mg pills per day.

 8. Black Cohosh
Exactly how Black Cohosh works is unknown, but the NIH found that it significantly reduces the frequency of menopausal hot flashes. Taking 40 – 100 mg per day has shown to be comparable to a prescription of low-dose transdermal estradiol. Though it is not for everyone: Black cohosh should not be used by pregnant or lactating women, those with a history of breast cancer or hormone-sensitive conditions such as uterine and ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids. The herb might also be linked to liver failure & autoimmune hepatitis.

9. Garlic
This root plant has been shown to have a bevy of health benefits when eaten fresh, (rather than aged or in supplement form). According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine eating fresh garlic may lead to lower blood pressure & a reduced risk of atherosclerosis, colon, rectal & stomach cancers.
How to chew on garlic without reeking? Chew on a few sprigs of parsley.


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