Eating real food that is nutrient-dense and primarily unprocessed is the number one priority for any healthy diet!
Supplements should never be the foundation of any nutrition plan, despite what certain companies claim. This is almost always a marketing ploy to convince consumers that they need to buy products—oftentimes made from low-quality ingredients and artificial chemicals—in order to stay healthy. That said, certain supplements from established companies can help you make sure you are getting the right amount of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and micronutrients in your diet.
Below are several supplements I personally take and recommend with clients. You can message me for specific product recommendations.
1) A High Quality Greens Powder or Spirulina.
This first recommendation may come as a surprise to some people. Why not just take a multivitamin? Well, most multivitamins on the market kind of suck. They do not help us live longer and are full of binders and fillers with inappropriate dosages of nutrients, many of which do not get absorbed in the body due to the inactive ingredients. The term “expensive pee” comes to mind. I stopped relying on multivitamins years ago and switched to spirulina or a greens powder. Big difference in my skin health and energy levels.
Everyone can benefit from taking a nutrient-dense supplement like this. In face, nutrient deficiencies and environmental toxins are responsible for much of the sickness and disease we experience today. A high quality greens powder will not only help you reach your micronutrient needs, but provide probiotics for digestion, immunity, and energy. They are easily tolerated, absorbed, convenient, reduce inflammation, and help your body rid itself of toxins that can help you burn body fat. Green Vibrance is my personal favorite because of the probiotics and high anti-oxidant quantity. When you calculate the cost, it comes out to a little over $1/day on one serving which is a very good deal. How much do you spend on sugary Starbucks mocha-frappe-whatever or even a normal coffee? All of a sudden it doesn’t seem like such a bad deal to invest in your health….
Spirulina is another fabulous supplement with a plethora of research backing its benefits. Spirulina is full of trace minerals, phytonutrients, and is 70% weight by protein. It is shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, increase HDL (the good cholesterol), improve allergy symptoms, aid in muscular endurance, and support natural detoxification. All in all it deserves the label of “superfood” and should be part of anyone’s daily routine. I personally take about a teaspoon or two before exercise or when my allergies start to act up and I feel tired or under the weather.
2) A Clean Protein Source.
Why should someone bother taking protein? Isn’t it bad for your kidneys? (Short answer: No.) If you care about your muscles, hair, nails, skin, and hormones, then protein is rather important. The amino acids found in protein are building blocks that repair and grow damaged muscle tissue while helping us make hormones and chemicals necessary for our survival. While protein deficiency is rare, protein requirements for active individuals can be hard to reach eating food alone. Not to mention many protein sources from food have controversial research (meat, dairy, tofu, grains etc.).
This is why I try to opt for a clean plant protein or whey protein with no added artificial ingredients. I have tried and recommended various vegan protein powders over the years. Another great option is unflavored, pure whey protein that is tested and verified. Better if it comes from grass-fed cows (contains 3-5 times the amount of conjugate linoleic acid that is shown to further enhance muscle growth and fat loss.) I like to mix it in with some berries, greens powder, banana, mango and ice if available.
3) Vitamin D3 + K and Magnesium.
Remember how I said multivitamins suck? One major reason is they leave out these three ingredients. Vitamin D3 (not D2 found in many multivitamins), K2, and magnesium all play a role in numerous interactions in the body and are among some of the most common deficiencies. Vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with depression, hair loss, muscle pain, weakened bones, back pain, and mood disorders. Getting adequate levels will boost your energy, life your mood, and most importantly balance hormone levels in the body. Vitamin D should be taken with K2 (found in egg yolks and leafy greens) and some sort of fatty food to enhance absorption. I would aim for at least 1000-2000IU taken daily, or several times per week.
Magnesium is another game-changer when it comes to relaxation and overall health. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 chemical reactions in the body, from promoting bone and heart health, insulin sensitivity, and aiding in sleep latency. Up to 3 in 4 adults do not get enough magnesium in their diet (420+mg), according to the World Health Organization. This is where a magnesium supplement is useful to take at night for good health and relaxation. For example,“Calm” is a popular magnesium drink that is flavored with stevia, a sugar-free natural sweetener:
4) Last but not least, Omega 3’s for Brain Health and Inflammation
Omega 3 Fatty acids are critical in protecting our brain and immune system. Research shows adequate omega 3 intake is correlated with decreased risk for Alzheimer’s and heart disease. A dose of 600-1000mg daily seem appropriate given the research available. Unless you are eating fish several times per week, many of us do not meet this amount and can benefit from supplementation. Another reason to supplement is the alarming research showing high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. This is why I recommend clients to play it safe and invest in a supplement. Look for a quality fish oil that is sourced from wild fish, not cheaply-mixed oils that may be rancid and inflammatory. I would recommend looking on Iherb.com for some good options.
There are several other beneficial supplements to take to help improve health, burn body fat, preserve lean muscle tissue, improve athletic performance, sleep, digestion, testosterone, and more. But for now this would be the “priority list” for general health and well-being.
A few others to consider:
- B-complex or specifically B12 for vegetarians/vegans
- Zinc for athletes or individuals who sweat a large amount
- Creatine for power, muscle-building purposes as well as Beta-alanine for performance
- Garlic, Curcumin, and Ginger capsules or tea for anti-inflammatory properties
What other supplements do you take or want to learn more about? Write me back on this topic!