5 Reasons to Consider Adding Supplements to Your Diet — Should you be including these into your healthy diet?
This post is sponsored by Intelligent Labs. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Sinful Nutrition possible!
Maybe it’s my dietitian eyes, but I feel like new MUST HAVE supplements are popping up faster than I can polish off a salad…which is maybe just slightly slower than the speed of light.
First there was raspberry ketones (eyes heavily rolled), then probiotics, coconut oil, collagen, turmeric…I could go on forever, baby.
So how the heck are we supposed to know how to pick out the good from the bad? OR if we even need these supplements in the diet anyway?
I decided to give my take on 5 reasons I think it’s appropriate to add supplements to your diet, and which I take personally. Lessgo!
I tried being vegan once..it lasted a good 3 hours, before I dug my spoon into a carton of ice cream and proclaimed the vegan life just wasn’t for me.
But like most diets/lifestyles, I strongly believe that we each need to find what works for our own selves, and for some the plant life is the answer. Getting more plant-based foods is something that I think everyone can benefit from, but going full PETA jacket doesn’t work for everyone.
If you do decide to live the plant life, supplementing with a couple essential nutrients is key. Vegans typically do not get a lot of vitamin B12 or iron, since these are found in much higher amounts and in forms the body can more readily use in animal products.
Unlike popular belief, I think calcium and protein can easily be eaten in appropriate amounts through a vegan diet. Heck, even broccoli has protein!
Bottom line: Taking a daily multivitamin with both iron and B12 can help those following a vegan lifestyle get adequate amounts of these essential nutrients that is not obtained through food.
We always hear about that special little window of time after a workout that we need to refuel with protein and carbs to get ALL THE GAINS.
..,or at least give our bodies the replenishment it needs to build muscle. While I think it is 100% possible to refuel through whole foods, using a protein powder or shake supplement can come in handy in pinch as well.
If you’re at the gym or rushed for time in the morning, whipping up a quick smoothie with protein powder and some fruit can be a great way to get a balance of protein and carbs in the body post-workout. I usually add a scoop to my morning smoothie or after a workout, especially if I don’t have a big appetite for a meal or snack.
Bottom line: Protein powders can be a quick and easy addition to post workout meals/snacks when on the go or when you don’t have a big appetite, but are not required in a healthy diet.
During the Winter Months
Let’s face it, everything is exponentially harder in the winter months. I’m looking at you New England.
It’s cold, it get’s darker sooner, there’s snow, and an overall un-motivation to do anything outside of baking/eating/sleeping/repeating.
That doesn’t mean we can pop a pill and curl under a blanket for the rest of the season. We still need movement and vegetables, but this is a time when a supplement can definitely come in handy.
Less sun time means less vitamin D, a nutrient that most don’t get enough of in the diet to begin with. Especially for those in climates that get snow and icy temps, it can be near impossible to get enough vitamin D each day from the sun.
I personally start taking 1000 IUs of vitamin D3 each day in November through to March. Besides boosting immunity, I feel more energized when I take vitamin D on a regular basis in the winter, which helps combat that hibernation-mode. I use MegaFoods, which has the added bonus of actually coming from foods rather than a synthetic form. Yay, team real foods!
Bottom line: In the winter months, especially for those in cold and snowy climates could benefit from a daily vitamin D3 supplement that can be difficult to get from the diet alone.
A food allergy/intolerance is probably one of my worst nightmares. Especially if it happened to be peanuts. Like, there goes my life purpose…
However, this nightmare is a reality for many, with some suffering from multiple food intolerances, making eating more of a chore than an enjoyable experience.
On the other hand, because of such a prevalence of food-related issues, there are more products on the market today to help those with intolerances, from more gluten-free options, to every kind of milk alternative you could think of.
If not treated properly, food intolerances can do a number on gut health, and can cause a lot of inflammation, and otherwise uncomfortable symptoms (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation). Allergies can be a bit more serious, and should always be handled under the care of a medical professional.
Besides elimination of the food culprit, certain supplements can be helpful in healing the gut and supporting immunity. Taking a probiotic supplement can help get good bacteria into the gut, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion. I don’t take a probiotic supplement personally, but I do eat more fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha that are also sources of probiotics.
An omega 3 supplement can also help with food intolerances due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties to aid in gut healing.
Intelligent Labs sent me some of their Omega 3 supplements to try, since I do take them from time to time (more on that later!). They’re great for those who aren’t big seafood fans, since there was absolutely no fishy taste or smell, and none of those notorious fish burps!
Bottom line: Supplementing with probiotics and omega 3’s can help those with food intolerances or digestive issues to help with gut healing and reducing inflammation. Both of these however, can still be obtained through fermented foods and fatty fish.
Enhance a Healthy Diet
Just as their name implies, supplements should be used to SUPPLEMENT a healthy diet. Popping a multi ever day, then binging on donuts and french fries won’t fly.
Whole foods should come first, getting a balance of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and nuts/seeds in each day. But hey, we’re all human, and donuts are delicious.
Some days we may not eat a single green vegetable. Others may be the poster child of health, meal prepping, eating the rainbow, and drinking water. And frankly, that’s how it should be.
There’s been studies that show that those who take multivitamins and diet supplements are healthier, but what they don’t come out and say is that most of the time it’s because these individuals are already invested in their own health. Meaning, they eat their veggies and exercise.
As I said before, sometimes I take an omega 3 supplement, because I know how important these types of fat are for health. From brain function, to heart health, digestive health, and even exercise recovery. Normally, I’ll try to get my twice a week dose of SMASH fish (read this post to learn about what those are!), but even I get burnt out on sardine salads and salmon patties.
When I know I haven’t been eating as much fish as I should be, or just simply not in the mood for it, I’ll add an omega 3 supplement to my regimen.
I try to always go for sustainably-caught seafood, such as wild caught, so I was happy to see that Intelligent Labs utilized wild caught fish from “Friends of the Sea” for their omega 3. The black bottle it comes in also helps the oils from going bad faster, which if you’re like me and don’t take it all the time is a good thing.
Bottom line: Supplements should be used in conjunction with a healthy and balanced diet, and not to replace eating right and exercising.
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Make it a great day!
What are your thoughts on supplements?
Do you take any supplements?