I often get asked what I think about supplements for overall health; are they really worth the money and the hassle to take them everyday?
My answer is pretty much always yes. Why?
If you have ever watched the movie Food Matters, you would be aware how any of the foods that we consume now are really deprived of nutrients and this is one of the main reasons my answer is positive. In addition to this, supplements, the right kind, can help with recovery and performance. To try to make more clarity to this topic, I have listed the main 7 supplements and the reasons to use them. Aside for a good multivitamin, the other are completely optional, but keep reading, and you might discover something that can really change your life.
1) Multivitamins: my favourite brand has always been Optimum Nutrition brand, opti-man and opti-women. These are really high in the majority of the vitamins and minerals that are lacking in nowadays fruits and vegetables, even when purchased organic. Multivitamins will help you with overall health and not worrying about missing out on certain nutrients.
2) Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids: if you don’t eat fatty fish, flaxseeds or walnuts frequently, you might be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain’s health and prevention of several types of cancer. They improve insulin sensitivity, helping with weight management and reduction of inflammation, which can help relieve sore joints and muscles. These fatty acids can be taken in capsule form from fish oil or flax-seeds oil for vegans.
3) Fibers: unless you eat the minimal five servings a day of various fruits and vegetables, you might need help with fiber that helps lower total body inflammation and protects against elevated blood lipids and blood pressure. In addition it will help keeping your digestive track clean, and prevent colon cancer. My favourite type of fiber supplement is called psyllium husk, that shall be take with plenty of water, ideally before going to bed to allow plenty of time to bulk up in your tummy. If you are not going #2 everyday, you might want to consider having this daily. In Saigon, can be found easily at local stores, including Medicare pharmacies.
4) Calcium and vitamin D: these supplements often goes together and they should. Adequate vitamin D intake is important not only for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption, maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, it is also suggested to protect against multiple diseases and conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Regarding calcium, we all know that it is necessary for healthy bones (but not many of you might know that milk should not be a source of it) but it is absolutely amazing if you are lifting weights and if you want to have strong and beautiful nails. An example? After 2 month of taking it everyday, my nails have been incredibly healthy and long, for the first time in my life!
5) Protein powders: whey, casein, soy or pea/brown rice these are all good options (depending on your budget, nutrition believes and market availabilities) when you are looking for a very convenient way to grow bigger muscles related to weight lifting activities. These are not mandatory, but it will make it much easier to gain some lean muscle after a lifting session at the gym. These are also great to add in healthy baking and snack throughout the day. Stay tuned for vegan protein powders coming to Saigon soon!!
6) BCAAs: whether you are consuming meat or choosing to be vegetarian / vegan, BCAAs can be a good supplement to take. Branched Chain Amino Acids refers to three amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. BCAA supplementation, for people with low dietary protein intake, can promote muscle protein synthesis and increase muscle growth over time. It can also be used to prevent fatigue if consumed right before or after a workout. They are also very easy to be diluted in water and make a delicious healthy popsicle!
7) Glutamine: L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the bloodstream and supplementing this amino acid can not only aid protein synthesis and naturally balance your pH levels but also with improving gastrointestinal health. Since our stomach is the center of our immune system, this benefits is incredibly important. It can also help heal ulcers, leaky gut, IBS and diarrhea. IT also improves athletic performance, recovery from endurance exercise, metabolism and cellular detoxification. It curbs cravings for sugar and alcohol and fight cancers. Finally, it improves diabetes and blood sugar. So many benefits in a single supplement! Worth the try.
If you are interested in knowing more about supplements and where to find in Saigon, drop me an email!