Do you know what supplements you should be taking daily?
Even if you try to get all of your nutrients from food in your everyday meals you may be missing something. And, let’s face it, it can be hard to watch over your nutrition 100% of the time. That’s where food supplements come in.
Here are 4 food supplements you should take everyday:
What is a probiotic?
If you haven’t heard, there is “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut. And these kinds of bacteria can affect your gut in a way that can change the way you feel, the way you do your digestion, if you feel bloated or constipated, etc. Since your gut health is directly linked to your brain, it can even affect your mood.
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that keep your gut healthy. When you take antibiotics or eat foods that aren’t as good for you, taking a probiotic can help replenish the good bacteria in your gut so everything can keep working smoothly.
These bacteria can be found in foods like yogurt, kefir, miso and tempeh. Eating these kinds of foods may help tremendously your digestive system, but you may need to take a probiotic supplement as well.
Taking probiotics can help treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, flu symptoms, and in some cases it can help with some skin problems.
How to choose a good probiotic?
If you decide to buy a probiotic, aim for one with at least 10 billion live organisms per dosage and look for one that has a wide array of different bacteria strains. This will ensure you get the right amount of gut bacteria to actually notice a difference.
Make sure it has these 5 different strains of bacteria, which are the most important and can have a tremendously positive effect on your gut:
- Bifidobacterium lactis: it can help with digestion, support your immune system and relieve occasional constipation;
- Lactobaccilus plantarum: this is a unique type of bacteria that can actually fight the creation of bad bacteria in your gut, as well as helping with bloating and intestinal discomfort;
- Bifidobacterium bifidum: this is one of the most common bacteria found in your gut and it can provide symptom relief for lactose-intolerance, bloating and intestinal discomfort;
- Lactobaccilus acidophilus: this is one of the most studied bacteria species, and the most used in probiotics. This can help with nutrient absorption, support lactose digestion and improve your body’s immune system.
- Bifidobacterium longum: it supports your intestine walls by helping with the breakdown of protein and carbs, and it can also relieve stress;
If you want to know more about probiotic strains and what they can do for you, check out this post: https://uaslabs.com/the-best-probiotic-strains-and-what-they-do/
Where can you find natural probiotics in food?
Like I mentioned previously, probiotics can be found in kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, coconut kefir, natto, yogurt, tempeh, miso, etc.
A prebiotic is essential to make sure your body is absorbing the probiotic well. This is “food” to your probiotic gut bacteria. Prebiotics act as a fertilizer that promotes growth of the good bacteria already in your gut.
Taking a prebiotic is just as essential as taking a probiotic since they complement each other, the former acting as the fuel for the latter.
Your body can’t digest prebiotics, which is a component of some foods you eat. These go through your digestion intact until they reach your intestinal tract, acting as food for the gut bacteria, and in turn making you healthier.
The benefits of prebiotics are huge. Even though the research of prebiotics isn’t as extended as probiotic research, it is expanding. So far results have shown that prebiotics can:
- improve your calcium absorption
- change your glycemic index, or how fast you can digest carbohydrates
- support the probiotic gut bacteria, reducing gut transit time
These effects on the body have been shown to help with osteoporosis and diabetes. New research is showing that prebiotics can help with gut disease management such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease.
How to choose a good prebiotic?
If you’re going to choose a good prebiotic supplement then the first thing you need to think about is fiber, prebiotics are full of soluble fiber that provides fuel for our gut bacteria.
This fiber can be too much for your body when you do start taking a new prebiotic supplement. You may notice you feel bloated or like you’re passing gas a lot more. This is normal. If you want you can always switch to only taking half the dosage until your body becomes accustomed to it.
If you want to stick to natural sources of prebiotics such as fiber-rich foods, be aware that not all fiber acts as a prebiotic. Only soluble fiber can be fermented by your gut bacteria, the insoluble fiber found in some foods can act as roughage.
If you want to know more about prebiotics check out this post: https://isappscience.org/prebiotics/
Where can prebiotics be found naturally in food?
Prebiotics can be found in fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole-grains. Some examples are: bananas, raw leeks, onions, raw garlic, chicory root, raw asparagus, whole wheat flour, etc.
What is a multivitamin?
A multivitamin is a supplement that contains a wide variety of nutrients and minerals. The composition of a multivitamin can differ depending on the brand and/or product.
Here’s the deal: if you follow a good healthy and balanced diet, you probably don’t need to take a multivitamin, unless you have a vitamin deficiency. But for most people, having enough fruit and vegetables in their daily diet can be a challenge.
If you feel like you aren’t eating as well as you should and you need to have a vitamin boost, then yes you should take a multivitamin every day. And if you eat healthy and have a balanced lifestyle, you can still take a multivitamin since results have shown that taking it when you don’t need it has no side effects.
If you do have a vitamin deficiency, then you must select a multivitamin that can help you replenish the nutrients and minerals you are missing from your diet.
Taking a multivitamin can help with:
- bone health, with vitamin D, K, Zinc, Fluoride, Manganese, Magnesium and Calcium
- level and maintain your blood sugar levels, with fiber and chromium
- baby health, with folic acid (while in gestation) and vitamin B6 (for brain development)
- immune system, with vitamin A, B6, C, D and Zinc
If you want to know more about what the different vitamins and minerals can do to your body check out this post: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/vitamins-and-minerals-good-food-sources#7
How to choose a good multivitamin?
Obviously, you should try to get all your nutrients from food, with a balanced diet, but if that’s not enough, then choosing a multivitamin isn’t a bad idea. Just make sure it fits into these criteria, if you want an inexpensive solution:
- “Avoid supplements that provide more than 100% of the DV for any vitamin or mineral.
- Choose a supplement with no more than 3,000-3,500 International Units (IUs) of retinol or vitamin A.
- Men and postmenopausal women should choose multivitamins with 50% or less of the DV for iron.
- Don’t expect to find 100% of the DV for calcium or magnesium in a multivitamin. Adding these would make the pills very large.
- Look for the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) symbol, a mark of a quality product.
- Most additives, such as herbs, are unnecessary and just drive up the price of the supplement.
- Supplements designed for certain age groups or sexes tend to be pricier. You can usually find a similar formula in a generic brand.” – WebMD, What Vitamin Should I Take.
Protein Powder is a supplement that can help you get the right amount of protein that your body needs when your diet isn’t providing enough.
If you are on a fitness journey, eating healthy and going to the gym often, you may need to supplement with a protein powder. Protein is an essential macronutrient needed for muscle health and enzyme and hormone creation.
Commonly people tend to believe that only in a situation where you want to build a lot of muscle, should you take a protein supplement, but that isn’t the case.
Why supplement with protein powder?
Protein, as an essential macronutrient has a bunch of benefits. When you’re getting enough protein in your body, it can help with:
- Weight Management
Eating more protein can help you feel fuller for longer and stop sugar cravings. People who eat more protein can maintain a balanced food intake since they don’t feel as hungry all the time.
- Muscle Growth and Recovery
Your muscles need protein to recover from working out. It helps with tissue and muscle repair, which is why many people use it to speed up muscle recovery time.
And even if your goal isn’t to get big bulky muscles you should still take a protein supplement, just take one that is low carb, low sugar, and high protein. This will help get lean muscles without gaining too much muscle.
What to look for?
There are 2 main protein supplement types: whey and casein. Whey is a fast absorbing protein, excellent for after a workout, so that your body can digest it rapidly. Casein is a slow absorbing protein. This is the protein found in cow’s milk. It takes a long time for your body to actually digest it properly but it can also be good to take at night so your body can absorb it during sleep.
If you are vegan, then neither of these proteins are suitable for you. The options available out there are: hemp, soy, pea and rice protein.
If you want to know more about protein powders, here is a great post about it: Best Protein Powder
Trying to eat healthier isn’t enough if you want to keep your health in check. You may need some food supplements for that. I have been trying to implement these supplements in my daily routine for a long time, and never knew which ones to choose. After a lot of research and some experimentation, these are the 4 supplements you should be taking daily.
Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone, and you should always go see your doctor before you make any decision. Especially if you may suffer from any condition that may change what you need to take. With that being said, you may want to give these supplements a try and see how you feel.
Meet the Author
Welcome to Stachio! I'm Maria, and I've created a website dedicated to all topics revolving a healthier and better lifestyle. A tribute to all beautiful things in life. Here you can find anything from health and self-care tips, to nutrition and fitness. My goal is to inspire and motivate you to achieve greater things. Join me as we uncover the steps to a better future !
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