LET’S TALK SUPPLEMENTS
Food and nutrition play a crucial role in health promotion and chronic disease prevention. Rates of chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality diet and physical inactivity, have increased. About half of all American adults have one or more preventable, diet-related chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and overweight and obesity. –health.gov
At the rate in which we burden ourselves with schedules, demands and deadlines we leave very little time for self care, home cooking and restorative sleep. We have lost sight of the basics. Most of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to perform properly can be found in the food that we eat. Fruits and vegetables do no come with a nutrition label explaining what is in them because they simply are what they are which is the food our bodies were designed and meant to eat. This concept of simple home cooking is just about lost due to time or lack of availability. There is scarcely little food left in our food when we leave it in the hands of others to prepare it for us. We have resorted to supplementing our food with the vitamins and nutrients we need to properly nourish our bodies. The manipulation of processed food has created an industry estimated to have a 2015 value of $37 billion.
A dietary supplement is a manufactured product intended to supplement the diet when taken by mouth as a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid. A supplement can provide nutrients either extracted from food sources or synthetic, individually or in combination, in order to increase the quantity of their consumption. The class of nutrient compounds includes vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids and amino acids. There are more than 50,000 dietary supplement products marketed just in the United States, where about 50% of the American adult population consumes dietary supplements. Multivitamins are the most commonly used product. For those who fail to consume a balanced diet.
There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble or fat-soluble. Both types of vitamins are equally important to our body, and they both come from a variety of food sources.
These vitamins do not stay in our body, our system uses what it needs in a short period of time and then excretes any excess through urine. Because water-soluble vitamins do not have a storage place in the body, we need to get them from our daily diet. Vitamin C from just about every type of fruit and vegetable, especially broccoli, oranges, strawberries and spinach. B vitamins come from meats, seafood, eggs, dairy, whole grains and legumes.
Stored in fat deposits throughout our body, as well as in your liver. Vitamin A, from dairy, dark leafy greens and eggs, contain phytochemicals that protect our eyes and vision. Vitamin D for bone health and Vitamin K for wound healing. Spinach, cabbage, kale and broccoli rabe are loaded with Vitamin K and Iron. Vitamin E, from whole grains and nuts is the antioxidant that protects red blood cells, essential fatty acids and tissues.
The minerals in our diet are essential for for building strong bones and teeth, blood, skin, hair, nerve function, muscle and for turning the food we eat into energy.
Our body needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Dairy products like milk and yogurt and vegetables like kale, broccoli and cabbage are a good source of calcium.
Controls the electrical activity of our heart. We need it to build proteins, break down and use carbohydrates, maintain the pH balance of the blood and support normal growth. Beef, fish, chicken, cantaloupe, potatoes, tomatoes and lima beans are good sources of potassium.
Our body needs sodium to stimulate nerve and muscle function, maintain the correct balance of fluid in the cells and support the absorption of other nutrients including chloride, amino acids and glucose. Our body only requires 180 to 500 milligrams of sodium per day.
Supports muscle and nerve function, keeps our heart beating regularly, builds strong bones and boosts immunity. Beans, nuts, whole grains and green vegetables are good sources of magnesium.
Fiber is often split into two types: soluble and insoluble. Fiber helps speed up the elimination of toxic waste through the colon. Grains, seeds, vegetables, and fruits are good sources of fiber. Brussels sprouts, oranges, flax seeds, and beans, are all good sources of soluble fiber.
Binds with fatty acids, keeps us full longer and slows the rate of sugar absorption by the body. Reduces cholesterol, regulates sugar intake, this is especially useful for people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Fermented by gut bacteria, improving immune and digestive health.
Beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, apples, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, prunes, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread are all good sources of soluble fiber.
Moves bulk through the digestive tract and controlling pH (acidity) levels in the intestines. Speeds up the elimination of waste through the colon. Dark leafy greens, root vegetable skins, fruit skins, whole-wheat products, wheat bran, corn bran, nuts, and seeds are good sources of insoluble fiber.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important in the normal functioning of all tissues of the body. Omega-6 fats are found in leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains. Some of the best sources of Omega-3 fats include flaxseeds and walnuts, along with different oils such as flaxseed, walnut, and wheat germ.
Protein is part of every single cell in the human body and is essential to the body’s functioning. Protein helps build and repair tissues like skin and muscle, and it helps produce antibodies and insulin. From only 20 amino acids, the body is able to generate many thousands of unique proteins with different functions. Meat, fish, poultry, dairy products and eggs are considered complete proteins, because they contain all the essential amino acids. Plant-based foods contain a variety of amino acids, but with the exception of soybeans and quinoa, do not contain all 10 amino acids at once.
So now that we have had a crash course on basic nutrition it is possible to consume all of the vital elements necessary to nourish our bodies by eating a whole food, primarily plant based diet.
Do Supplements actually work?
For most claims made on product labels, the law does not require evidence that the claim is accurate or truthful. In fact, the FDA’s first opportunity to weigh in comes only after a product is marketed, when it can take action against products that are adulterated, misbranded, or likely to produce injury or illness. Since nearly all supplements are used without medical supervision or monitoring, most of the estimated 50,000 adverse reactions that occur in the United States each year go unreported. -health.harvard.edu
In conclusion, there are endless products claiming all sorts of health benefits. In addition to the mostly whole food, plant based diet that I stick to, I will share with you the supplements that I take and why:
Covers the nutritional alphabet Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K, Iron, Magnesium and Calcium.
Omega-3 Fish Oil
The fish oil benefits include decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke while also helping reduce symptoms of depression, hypertension, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), joint pain, arthritis and chronic skin ailments like eczema. Fish oil intake has also been associated with aiding the body in weight loss, fertility, pregnancy and increased energy. –draxe.com
If you decide to take fish oil, don’t choose fish liver oil, which has too much vitamin A.
An antioxidant that your body produces naturally. Our cells use it for growth and maintenance.
Levels in our body decrease as we age. Levels have also been found to be lower in people with heart disease.
CoQ10 is found in meat, fish and whole grains however, isn’t enough to significantly increase levels in your body. As a supplement it might help treat certain heart conditions, as well as migraines and Parkinson’s disease.
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is one of your body’s primary neurotransmitters and acts to calm your central nervous system (CNS). Our body produces GABA naturally, which acts as a counter-balance to your body’s glutamatergic system—responsible for energy and activity. Basically, this means that GABA helps to calm your body and mind down, which promotes relaxation.
Helps increase iron levels and reduce fatigue, plus folic acid and B12 for healthy red blood cell production, and Vitamin C to support Iron absorption.
A natural anti-Inflammatory that helps gastrointestinal and menstrual issues, prevent cancer, detoxify body and keep skin healthy. Reduces inflammation, heal wounds, improve skin health and protect cognitive abilities.