Today on the blog I have Virginia Cunningham guest posting on health and wellness techniques. Below Virginia shares the easiest ways to get the supplements you need through the food available to us. Thank you, Virginia!
Even for those of us who pay great care to what we put in our bodies, getting all the nutrients we need isn’t always easy. Luckily, the market is full of easy-to-find and even easier-to-eat supplements that bridge the gaps.
Whether there’s a particular vitamin you’re deficient in or an entire domain of your health you’d like to bolster, here are some additives that anyone in search of optimal health could use:
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Many nutrients are christened with the title of “superfood,” but Omega-3s truly deserve it; they provide a boost in moods, but even more famously, the omega-3 EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is a crucial support for eyes, the brain, and the central nervous system, giving the acids the accurate handle of “brain food.” Walnuts and fish—especially tuna and salmon—are great sources of omega-3s, but be vigilant against toxins such as mercury that may come along with seafood. Because toxins can be eliminated in the refining process, here is one case in which supplements might be preferable to nature’s way.
Another buzzword many of us may hear from the greater health food community is
“living food.” While this tag may sound a bit odd to some, it simply means the wildly beneficial school of nutrients known asprobiotics. In a nutshell, probiotics simply maintain a favorable balance of the so-called “good bacteria,” or microflora, which should naturally live in our stomachs. These not only ward off any number of stomach and digestive woes, they are a boon to our immune systems.
Probiotics are one thing you probably don’t need to take in pill form in order to enjoy in a convenient manner. In general, probiotics are present in fermented foods, but for on-the-go delivery methods check out both kombucha and kefir drinks for supplements. Not only are they distinctively delicious and available in a rainbow of flavors, their fermentation gives them a nice kick.
While long-term clinical studies of 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP, also called oxitriptan) are still out, this amino acid and synthesizer of serotonin and tryptophan yields great results among those looking to feel good in a natural way—even after only several days of use (in part this is because it promotes regular sleep). Although it is a naturally occurring chemical, it appears only in negligible doses in foods, so you’ll need to visit a good health food store for supplemental capsules.
Whey protein may not be a dietary must you need to reinforce, but it’s as healthful as it is easy to take. Whey is a great go-to for branched-chain amino acids, so it’s powerful as an exercise buddy or protein and energy source. On top of this, it comes in an easy-to-use powder form, making it a staple for energy drinks and smoothies. Hint: make sure to get your whey from grass-fed, non GMO dairy sources.
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Turmeric Fans of spicy Indian dishes may already be familiar with turmeric, which gives many Indian dishes their trademark spicy flavor. On top of its flavor, turmeric delivers broad health benefits through its key ingredient, curcumin. Not only does turmeric stave off cancer, arthritis and viruses; it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Use this one either as a seasoning, or if the taste is too much for you, in capsule form.
DLPA, or phenylalanine, is another supplement known as a reliable mood elevator. Pumping up your endorphin levels, DLPA is often used as a painkiller with no risk of addictions. As it also curbs cravings for carbs and sugars—and enhances libido—DLPA is a great one-stop for ensuring a sense of well-being.
Creatine You might only associate creatine with body-building, but here’s a great supplement for all of us. True, it’s a powerful way to enhance muscle mass, but it’s also a solid means to maintain it, especially for vegetarians, whose diet will generally lack this nutrient. With only a few grams of creatine powder per day, you can build muscle, increase strength, or give yourself an energy boost. These are only a few ways to feel energized, strong and positive—naturally!
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer from Los Angeles. Her writing covers a wide variety of health issues, from skin care and healthy eating to fitness and holistic medicine. As the mother of a child with special needs, she has seen first-hand the benefit of daily supplementation.