Each year as summer draws to a close I get an extra surge of motivation to clean up my act. Summer marks a time for me to let loose a bit, enjoy an extra glass of wine or ice cream when the urge strikes and chill out. And this is totally acceptable in my books, I’ve always believed in ‘everything in moderation’ and that food is meant for nourishing AND enjoying!
All that being said, I tend to indulge a bit less the rest of the year, and find that fall is such a great time to get back on track nutrition-wise. And let’s face it, with school starting and colder months on the horizon (sad but true, don’t hate me for saying it!), taking measures to strengthen our bodies and immune systems can’t hurt.
I get asked on a regular basis which supplements I take, so I partnered with Genuine Health (the brand that I have taken for years, they also sponsored this post) this month to give you the low-down. It’s not a long list: I eat really well and strongly believe that food should be our number one source for getting the nutrients your body needs. Supplements are just as the name implies: they are meant to SUPPLEMENT your diet, not replace the need for healthy foods! If you don’t already, make sure that you eat a wide variety of wholesome plant-based foods to give your body what it needs and drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
Here are the three supplements that I take on a regular basis (please consult your dietitian or other healthcare provider if you have a medical condition or have specific needs to discuss prior to starting nutrition supplements):
1. Omega-3 + Vitamin D3
The typical North American diet is rich in processed foods and full of pro-inflammatory compounds. Fat plays an important role in modulating inflammation in our bodies, and an increase in dietary omega-3 fats in particular has been associated with lowering blood triglycerides (decreases risk for heart disease), helping alleviate symptoms of depression, boosting the effects of some anti-inflammatory drugs for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and has also been found to be essential for eye and brain development in infants.
I use and recommend the Genuine Health omega3 triple strength + D3 brand in the colder months when I’m indoors as it has both omega-3 and vitamin D in the ideal quantities and forms (900mg pre-formed EPA and DHA along with 1000 IU vitamin D3) and uses an ethically and sustainably sourced, high-quality, omega-3 blend. I take the regular Omega-3 extra strength in the summer months when I am outside (and don’t need the additional vitamin D) and always skip the omega blends that contain omega-6 fats, we already get way too many of these pro-inflammatory fats in our diets so you certainly don’t need to supplement with them! I always take these with food.
Once upon a time we thought that the only bugs that existed were bad ones. Bacteria in our gut? Ew! We now know that we have 10 times more bacterial cells in and on our bodies than we do human cells, and that these little microbes play an extremely important role in maintaining a healthy body. A healthy, diverse gut microflora helps improves digestion, strengthens our immune system, and aids in the absorption of some nutrients.
Consuming probiotics (microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed) is one way to help increase the healthy microbes in your gut. The Advanced Gut Health line of probiotics from Genuine Health is on my very short daily list of supplements that I take. They have two strengths, 15 and 50 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units): I take the 15 billion daily, and the 50 billion if and when I need to take antibiotics or if I feel that my digestion is off. The Genuine Health formula combines 15 carefully selected strains that are processed in a controlled environment and encapsulated in a vegan, non-GMO and soy and gluten-free (for those who need to avoid these ingredients) delayed-released capsule with the intent of delivering more viable bacteria to the gut.
I highly recommend eating a diet rich in plant-based foods that are rich in gut-healthy fibre to help feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, along with a lifestyle that keeps stress in-check and limits processed foods. Check out this post on Gut Health: How to Eat Your Way to a Healthy Gut for my tips on foods to include in your diet!
Vitamins and minerals are essential for normal growth, development and cell functions. The general consensus from the medical/nutrition community is that multivitamins aren’t necessary, and that we can get the nutrients that we need from the food that we eat. Despite there being limited evidence supporting the use of multivitamins, I take a multi vitamin as a type of nutritional ‘insurance’. I eat extremely healthy, but also like the fact that I have a multivitamin to get my back on the days that I may not eat as perfectly as I would like. Taking a multivitamin that doesn’t put you over the DRI’s (recommended intake for individuals in North America based on expert opinion) is a safe way to give you that extra piece of mind. I personally take one Genuine Health multi+ complete capsule a day. I don’t take any isolated vitamins or minerals, and don’t believe in mega-dosing of any nutrients. Too much, even of a good thing, can have negative health consequences, including interfering with the absorption of other nutrients and having potentially damaging health effects. Single nutrient or high dose supplements should only be taken under the supervision of your healthcare provider.
Thank you to Genuine Health for sponsoring this post!