Supplements versus Whole Foods – Pt 2

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As discussed in my previous post, your best bet to maintaining your health is to eat a whole food diet that covers as many colors of the rainbow to allow you to have all of your necessary nutrients.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates

Today I am going to go over some exceptions for when taking supplements or herbal remedies can be beneficial to balancing your health.

I am a firm believer in prevention and supplement daily with 1000 mg of time released vitamin C to help support my immune system. I also practice a daily routine to ensure that I go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. My food choices for the most part are whole foods which are organic and as close to the grower that I can get.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan you cannot get all of the essential B vitamins in your diet and it would be beneficial to take a complex B vitamin, preferably sublingually.  While there are a certain amount of B vitamins in whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, dark leafy greens and fruits, if you are not eating meats, eggs or dairy products you could be deficient in vitamin B12 which is essential for brain and nervous system functioning.

If you feel a cold coming on taking some echinacea, zinc and vitamin C are all helpful with lessening the severity of a cold and give your immunity a little boost. Having a strong immune system is a key to maintaining good health.

For sleeping trouble, you could benefit from sipping an herbal tea before going to bed of passionflower, lemon balm, valerian or chamomile to name a few anxiolytic and hypnotic herbs.  Caution should be taken with chamomile if you have a ragweed allergy as it could cause an adverse reaction within your body. When taking these herbs to get sleep, one should also investigate the underlying cause of insomnia and work to find ways to manage it and reset your internal circadian rhythm. 

Traveling can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythm for both sleep and digestion. When traveling sometime things get backed up and we can get uncomfortable. Relief can be found utilizing aloe vera, slippery elm or psyllium as a laxative to get things moving again. One should take caution with psyllium as this herb also helps with symptoms of diarrhea! If not consuming enough water while taking this herb, you could exacerbate your constipation instead of feeling better.

Herbs and supplements have their place in our lives, but should not be used as a crutch for poor dietary choices.

Supplements versus Whole Foods – Part 1

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It is estimated that 75% of Americans take some type of supplement in the form of vitamins, minerals, specialty supplements, herbs / botanicals, sports nutrition or weight loss formulas. This is a $30.7 billion dollar industry that continues to grow as people try to retake control of their health.

Eating food with limited nutritional value and taking vitamins to balance poor foods choices is not a way to manage your health.

There is so much emphasis placed on key nutrients that consumers feel the need to take supplements to ensure that they are getting the proper nutrients.

In this post and my next one, I am hoping to simplify some information so that you can make a more informed decision as to whether or not you need to supplement your diet.

 “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”—Ayurvedic proverb

When we isolate a nutrient from the food, such as Magnesium (which is found in legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and delicious dark chocolate to name a few sources) we lose the benefit of the fiber and other nutrients. The body has a harder time knowing what to do when you only give it a magnesium capsule. If you provide the body with foods that are rich in magnesium it can properly process and use it to fuel and nourish the body’s tissues.

Taking supplements has become a careless pastime of many people. Without understanding the maximum Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) that one should take in a day can lead to build up of that vitamin or mineral in the fatty tissue of the body’s organs, cause intestinal discomfort or just create really expensive urine!

Is taking supplements an easy out for better nutrition?

By taking supplements and relying on them to serve as nourishment for your bodily tissues you are depriving your body of being able to function as it is supposed to.  Supplements do not satiate the body’s need for good quality food.  

We have become a society that wants to rely on pills instead of taking back that beautiful connection that we use to have with food and being able to intuitively understand what our body needs to function efficiently.

Learn what foods are best for your constitution and condition you are trying to manage. Be present when preparing meals for yourself and your family. See if you can incorporate all the colors of the rainbow, almost a guaranteed way to ensure you are getting all of your vitamins and minerals naturally through whole food.

In my next post I will discuss when taking supplements for a short period of time or under certain circumstances can be helpful to maintain your health.