My Top 3 Health Supplements
In the first of a series in which I discuss my favourite supplements, we will look at the health aspect of the supplement industry.
Within the hierarchy of supplements you want to be looking at health supplements FIRST, before areas such as performance and recovery. This goes without saying when we talk ANYTHING regarding health and fitness - health must always come first.
If you are an avid follower of my various social media pages, you will already be aware that in my opinion, supplements are not important in the overall picture of training and nutrition. If you are eating a well-balanced diet, exercising intelligently, drinking enough water, sleeping enough and are keeping your stress levels in check, supplements will only add an extra 5% on top of everything else.
Certain people will have different needs depending on their current health state. Today I only want to touch on what I feel MOST people should incorporate in to their diet. These supplements in my opinion give the biggest benefit and are worth your hard earned money.
So with the disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive in!
More specifically when we talk about fish oil, we are referring to two kinds of omega 3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA. These fats are found in fish and animal products.
The health benefits are VAST, such as improved heart health, anti-inflammatory properties, improved cognition and a reduction in plaque build-up.
Recommended levels are 250mg of EPA and DHA combined. However, with most levels these are for general health. Research suggests up to 2-3g are better levels.
Big point to take home is to ensure you look at the label to make sure that you are getting enough EPA and DHA - this may mean you have to take 3-5 tablets in order to reach the levels required. I always recommend that clients have oily fish at least two times per week, and for the other days they take a fish oil supplement.
You may have heard of Omega 6 fatty acids (also important to health) and the fact that in today's modern western diet, we are consuming way in excess of what we need. While I won’t go in to rigorous detail about Omega 6 today, you should aim to increase Omega 3 intake in order to bring back a better balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6. Concentrate on increasing Omega 3 intake whilst reducing things like fast food meals, vegetable cooking oils and the ratio should self-correct itself.
Vegans can opt for an algae based alternative; however you should note that ALA does not convert well in to EPA and DHA (as little as 5% can be converted) so bear this in mind.
I’ve already touched on why I think most people should be supplementing with Vitamin D so I won’t rehash everything I said. If you missed my blog on Vitamin D – check it out here.
We know that most people are not deficient, but we also know that people are nowhere near at the recommended levels required for optimal health. It is already challenging to get enough Vitamin D levels from our diet even if you consume a lot of food and drink fortified with Vitamin D such as milk and breakfast cereals.
No doubt, getting out in the Sun is your best and most cost effective way to increase Vitamin D levels. The problem is that we Northern Hemisphere/non-tropical climate folk are not always lucky enough to enjoy the Sun all year round. Plus those who work in an office may struggle to hit Vitamin D levels even in the summer because they are stuck inside all day!
The good news is that supplementing with Vitamin D3 is relatively cheap so no one has an excuse of not be able to afford it. Aim for 1,000 – 3,000iu per day to ensure optimal Vitamin D levels, especially during the winter months.
A great flavour enhancer, super cost effective and delicious. Who doesn’t like adding garlic to their food right?
Garlic has shown to improve immunity, cardiovascular health, as well as improve blood circulation, benefit sexual vitality and cognition.
When garlic is broken, sliced, chewed or crushed it releases a molecule called alliin. This will let off the smell that garlic is best known for and where the secret to its health benefits lie.
Garlic can be eaten raw, added to meals, or supplemented with. A recommended intake would be 600-1,200mg a day or the equivalent of a couple of garlic cloves per day. If you do cook with garlic, ensure that the garlic is crushed as finely as possible to ensure that the alliin is released.
That covers it for health supplements. Until next time stay tuned when I will be going through my favourite PERFORMANCE Supplements!