Supplements are mainly used as a way of getting nutrients into the body from isolated versions of specific nutrients. Common supplements are omega 3, fish oil, vitamin D, multivitamin, protein powders, BCAA’s and many more. Supplements are just that, they are made to supplement a healthy diet.
I would argue that supplementation is unnecessary if you are eating a healthy diet. We do not need supplements to be healthy. I think that needing supplements is a sign that you are not eating a healthy diet full of all the essential nutrients. Supplements should only be taken when these nutrients cannot be obtained from the foods you eat or specific health conditions etc.
I believe that a healthy diet should not rely on supplements. Supplements are chemically made and manipulated into capsules ‘safe’ for human consumption. Our bodies are made to extract nutrients from food. That is an incredibly complex and important process to ensure a healthy body. When we isolate and artificially grow these nutrients the benefit to the body is minimal in comparison to good, food sources of nutrients.
Individuals with certain health conditions and people who consume vegan diets for example need supplements as the foods consumed in the diet doesn’t have all the necessary nutrients or the body cannot process the correct nutrients.
When considering supplementing ask yourself if you can get that nutrient from foods. Find a way to add these foods into your diet in a way that you enjoy. The list of different recipes in endless! Your body will thank you.
Common Supplements and their Food Sources
Omega 3/ Fish Oil
- Eat 2 portions of oily fish a week (preferably wild caught/ organic).
- Eat walnuts for a snack.
- Add chia seeds/ Flaxseeds to meals.
- Depending on where you live, how much skin is exposed to the sun when you do go outside and the colour of your skin you may need to supplement vitamin D. However, there are fantastic food sources of vitamin D that everyone should be consuming.
- Mushrooms, eggs, red meat, oily fish and of course THE SUN.
- If you are living in a colder climate try to eat as much food sources of vitamin D as possible and go outside when it is sunny!
- This type of vitamin should only be prescribed in severe cases and in illness. If you are eating a balanced diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oily fish, starchy carbohydrate, and water there is no need to take a multivitamin.
- Iron is essential in teenage and adult women. If you do not consume animal products rich in iron such as red meat and liver. Consider consuming lots of fruit and dark leafy greens. Supplementation may be necessary in a vegan diet.
- The average man should consume roughly 55 g of protein a day and for women 45 g. You do not need as much protein as you think. Protein powders are OVERRATED. You don’t need them. They are filled with chemicals and sugars. Not to mention they taste disgusting. Vegan diets are a little more complicated when it comes to protein (i have a whole blog on veganism – the review of game changers).
- There is research to suggest that the body can only process a maximum of 20 g of protein at one time. You will get that easily from food sources such as meat, daily, eggs, nuts, legumes.
However, all that being said supplementation IS better than nothing at all. Food sources of nutrients is ESSENTIAL. If you are in a position where it feels impossible to eat a healthy diet that is OKAY. Work on you and your mental health and slowly add small, healthy changes to your diet. Every little helps. Your mental health and happiness come FIRST.
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