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I give you full permission to make fun of me for this. My husband for sure does already. Want to know what I fall asleep reading many nights of the week, besides cooking magazines? Articles about health, nutrition and supplements. Am I boring or what? I’ll say this, though…after reading The Hunger Games series a few years ago before bed, this makes for much sounder sleep!
What is your take on supplements? I’m so intrigued by the idea of using natural ways to supplement our diet–which is of course not perfect–and to fight off illness and prevent disease. But, on the other hand, I’m cautiously skeptical knowing that the vitamin business is a multimillion dollar industry. Some of the articles I read are likely tainted with bias and ulterior motives.
Over my years of research and discussions with several medical professionals, though, I’ve come to this conclusion. There are at least four must-have supplements that everyone in my family needs to take (and we do most of the time). Here are the ones I budget for and feel confident are crucial to overall health at any age. Feel free to disagree, though, and share about your own supplement regimen. I’m certainly no expert.
Is there any disease, ache or pain this miracle supplement doesn’t seem to help? Fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat that your body cannot make and which the American diet is sorely lacking in. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “omega-3 fatty acids are important for the function of your muscles, fertility, your immune system, blood clotting, digestion, cell division, growth and calcium transportation.”
Here’s what else this supplement is touted for:
- stroke and heart attack prevention
- reducing inflammation in the body, which means treating health problems caused by excessive inflammation, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and allergies, etc. (source)
- its reputation as “brain food”, possibly helping with depression, psychosis, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer’s disease, and other thinking disorders
- treating dry eyes, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a very common condition in older people that can lead to serious sight problems
- in women, preventing painful periods; breast pain; and complications associated with pregnancy such as miscarriage, high blood pressure late in pregnancy, and early delivery
- helping with diabetes, asthma, developmental coordination disorders, movement disorders, dyslexia, obesity, kidney disease, weak bones (osteoporosis), certain diseases related to pain and swelling such as psoriasis, and preventing weight loss caused by some cancer drugs.
I’ve been struggling with dry eyes over the past year. My eye doctor recommended I take fish oil every day, and after a check up this week, he said my eyes look much better after 6 months of taking this! He confirmed that the fish oil I’ve been taking has probably been a key factor.
Our family takes Barlean’s Organic Oils Omega Swirl Fish Oil, Lemon Zest, 16-Ounce Bottle because it tastes fantastic. My kids literally line up with their mouths open every morning to get their squirt. My husband and I much prefer it over the fish oil tablets we used to take (no more fishy burbs…thank you!). I’ve found that it’s cheapest on Amazon with the subscribe and save option, plus it’s delivered to my door without me thinking about ordering it.
Here’s another supplement that has received a lot of attention over the past few years, as it seems that the majority of Americans are Vitamin D deficient because of our lack of sunlight. We sit at desks all day long and slather on sunscreen (to rightly protect ourselves from skin cancer). But, in the mean time, we’ve slighted ourselves from the D goodness provided to us from the sun.
Vitamin D plays a number of roles in our body, including:
- Promoting absorption of calcium and bone health
- Boosting immune function
- Reducing inflammation
- Healthy neuro-muscular function
- Protecting against some forms of cancer (source)
Vitamin D is absorbed best when taken with calcium, so make sure to drink some milk or eat some cheese or greens with it. I often put ours in our green smoothie that has yogurt and spinach in it. Also, the animal-derived D3 form of the vitamin is better absorbed than plant-derived D2. My trusted health food store owner dude recommend Carlson Super Daily D3 400 IU for Kids for my kids and Carlson Ddrops, Liquid Vitamin D, 1000 IU, 0.34-Fluid Ounces for us.
The articles I’ve read will tell you to get your Vitamin D levels checked by your doctor before supplementing. From there, you’ll have an idea of if you need to supplement (I bet you do) and your doctor can help you determine how much you need to get on track.
Because antibiotics lurk in our water system and almost all non-organic meat and dairy products and are probably over prescribed by doctors, the bacteria in our guts are out of whack. You see, all of us have billions of bacteria in our digestive system–good guys and bad guys. In a healthy state, the good guys are winning–our digestion is working properly because we’ve got well-balanced flora. But, because of the inundation of antibiotics are killing off the good bacteria along with the bad, the bad bacteria ends up taking over. This results in all kinds of digestive problems and yeast infections. New studies are even showing that taking probiotics is linked to fewer colds, so the benefits seem to extend beyond restoring gut health.
Delicious Living‘s team of editors and medical professionals recommend these two probiotics as the best on the market for kids and adults, respectively.
Even though we try to eat a diet low in processed foods and full of vegetables and fruits (even sneaking produce in anywhere I can), I’m sure we don’t get all the vitamins and minerals our bodies need.
Although I’m not convinced our bodies can absorb all the nutrients in a pill form like this, I think it probably does provide some additional nutrients we could be missing. Taking a daily multivitamin certainly does not take the place of eating a healthy, well-rounded diet, though!
My husband and I take Nature’s Way Alive! Multi-Vitamin because it’s affordable but a higher quality vitamin. But, big warning here: It will upset your stomach if you don’t take it with food! Be sure to wait until you’ve had breakfast to take one.
Do you think supplements are worth the cost? What supplements do you take or recommend?
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