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.

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