For the most part, with a healthy diet, you get all of the nutrients you need in your daily meals.
The problem is, most Americans aren’t eating well-rounded, healthy diets. You might be the type of person that lives on restaurant foods and fast foods that are fried and filled with fats and calories that you don’t need.
When you’re missing out on important vitamins and nutrients, whether you’re just eating an unhealthy diet or you have food allergies that keep you from eating certain foods, there are ways you can still get the nutrients you need.
What are Supplements?
Supplements, which are more formally called Dietary supplements, are “food” items that are taken by mouth. They help you get nutrients you might not be getting through your normal diet. They’re available in more than just pill form – some supplements are in liquid, powder, and even chewable form.
There are a few different things you might find in supplement form, from vitamins you hear about often to minerals and enzymes you may have never heard of. You can also find plant botanicals that your body uses for optimal health and wellbeing. Here are some of them:
- Vitamins – One of the top types of supplements are vitamins. You can take any vitamin in existence through pill form, from vitamin A to vitamin K, as a single vitamin or as a multivitamin. Your body needs vitamins to maintain optimal health.
- Minerals – Minerals account for many of the other nutrients you know about when it comes to health – like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Again, these are important nutrients that help your body stay healthy.
- Enzymes – Enzymes work as catalysts within the body, to make chemical reactions happen (like digestion).
- Amino Acids – These are your protein building blocks. Some protein foods contain complete amino acids, while most only give you some of them. The body only has 20 different amino acids, eight of which it can’t produce on its own.
- Botanicals – There are health benefits to plants of all kinds, from their roots up to their flowers. Botanicals cover all things from the health benefits of Echinacea to the healing benefits of flax seed.
These few basic supplemental groups offer you just a glimpse at what you may consider taking when it comes to supplements. You’ll find many different varieties, from pills that contain many different nutrients to ones that contain only one specific one. Here is a list of five supplements you might want to consider adding to your daily health regimen, and why.
1. Fish Oil
What are fish oil pills good for? Well, they are good for a lot of things – including healthy skin, heart health, and even brain health. The purpose of fish oils can be thought of as lubrication – the oil helps your heart keep pumping properly and gives you a well-oiled brain that helps you think faster and remember longer.
Omega 3 fish oils can be taken in pill form (usually a plastic cap filled with the oil), as an oil, or you can get them straight from the fish.
By taking the supplements, you can get fish oil in your diet daily though (since eating fish increases your intake of mercury). However, it’s always good to try to get the vitamins and minerals directly from the source whenever you can.
Echinacea is a supplement made from the coneflower. It is used to fight allergies, sinus issues, and it’s a natural antibiotic – which makes it a great dietary addition if you have a sinus infection. Take it regularly during both allergy and cold seasons. It comes as a dried herb inside a capsule, though you can also find it in liquid tincture form.
3. Calcium with Vitamin D
If you want strong bones and teeth, and you want to avoid things like osteoporosis when you get older, you should consider taking a calcium supplement, as well as the D vitamin. Your body needs vitamin D for it to be able to absorb calcium, and the best way to get vitamin D is 15 minutes in the sun a day (which can’t happen when there’s cloud cover, or it’s a rainy day).
4. CoQ 10
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant, and it’s a nutrient that is naturally found in the body. Since the body makes enough, most people don’t take this supplement until they get older. It helps with lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart problems.
Probiotics are essential for gut health. If your stomach is doing its job you don’t need these. However, if you’re suffering from stomach issues (like problems digesting foods or even diarrhea), a probiotic can help your tummy digest better and feel better.
These are only a few of the increasingly popular vitamins and minerals people take on a regular basis. They include a combination of nutrients that will help you with heart health, gut health, and so much more.
When to Take Your Supplements
Follow the instructions on the packaging for your supplements. Some of them will be taken with food. Some should be taken when you wake up (this is for supplements that need to be taken when your stomach is empty). Make sure to read the label first.