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SUPPLEMENTS: The top 3 for overall health

Are supplements really necessary, you may ask? I am a firm believer in supplements as I think they add value to a person’s overall health. I do not believe however, that they should not replace a diet full of fresh vegetables, some lean meats and yummy healthy fats.

There is constant debate over the benefits of supplements, and if they really add value to a person’s health.

This article will look at my Top 3 supplements and explain the benefits of adding them into your daily routine.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is an excellent supplement to start with.

Our bodies require polyunsaturated fats to function optimally. Polyunsaturated fats are grouped into two different groups: Omega-3 EFAs and Omega-6 EFAs.

Omega-6s have a different function to omega-3s, they drive inflammation, blood clotting and tumour growth, all functional necessary processes (the jury is out on the tumour growth). To counteract this, omega-3s reduce inflammation, help the blood remain less viscous (that is runny) and reduce the growth of tumours.

In the general population there is now an imbalance of these essential fatty acids. Since the introduction of processed vegetable oils, such as canola oil, and the rise of the high-carb/low-fat diet, we have been prescribed for so many years, the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 has shifted to favour omega-6 fats. That is inflammatory causing, tumour growing, heart-disease causing and cancer enabling omega-6! Therefor we require more omega-3s to counteract this assault on the body. In comes fish oil!

Good quality fish oil will aid in the reduction of blood viscosity, boost brain health by reducing the symptoms of depression, lower the risk of the onset of asthma, boost heart health by maintaining the elasticity of the artery walls, preventing blood clotting and reducing blood pressure.

These are only some of the improved health benefits of fish oil! There are many, many more. Try adding fish oil into your daily routine, you will definitely not regret it.

Vitamin D

Unfortunately with our growing sedentary lifestyle, most of the Australian population has either low or deficient levels of vitamin D. Despite its name, vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone designed to be absorbed from the sun, not so much through diet.

Vitamin D is required for an array of different reactions by the body. Low or deficient levels of vitamin D can cause, but are not limited to:

–       Feeling “Blue” – serotonin, the body’s mood controller, is directly linked with the exposure to the sun. The more exposure, the higher the levels of serotonin, which equals improved mood. However, low sun exposure has the opposite affect. The less exposure to the sun, the lower levels of serotonin , which can equate to a depressed mood and:

–       Aching bones

–       Fatigue

–       Increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease

A simple blood test can measure your vitamin D levels, and if you are low or deficient, supplementation is the best form of rectifying this, as well as getting as much sun exposure at the recommended guidelines as possible.

You can check out the recommended sun exposure by clicking here.

Probiotics

Probiotics are my third top supplement to add into your daily routine.

Gut health is a recurring theme throughout the health industry, as the research into the links between poor gut health and poor health has found to be inextricably linked.

Poor gut health can lead to the following (not all adverse health affects have been listed), if not treated:

–       Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

–       Allergies

–       Obesity

–       Diabetes

How can we help our gut work for us, instead of against us?

Prebiotics and probiotics have been shown to improve our gut health. Fermented foods, in particular, serve as fodder for our gut bacteria, this is what it likes to eat! Supplementing with a good quality probiotic as well as eating a wide variety of vegetables, avoiding processed and refined food, sugar, and in some of the population, gluten.