With so many vitamins, minerals, and herbs on the market today, it’s hard to know where to start in selecting what you need. There are seven that I, along with other professionals in the field, believe are essential to our every day life. Those are water, enzymes, fiber, multi-vitamins, fats, antioxidants and probiotics. We are going to take a closer look at each of these and why they are so important to our health. We can increase intake of these nutrients by improving our diet with organic fruits and veggies. When we can’t, we need to take supplements. If you need help choosing the supplement that is right for you, please contact a trusted health professional.
Let’s start with water. We all know that water is essential to life. Water not only keeps our organs and tissues hydrated, it also moves food through the digestive system and toxins out. Some symptoms of dehydration are constipation, poor digestion, rough or dry skin and over eating. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Remember to make sure the water you are drinking is pure and free of harmful chemicals. Faucet and pitcher carbon filtration systems do not come close to make your water pure. Look into purchasing a reverse osmosis system for your home. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to ensure you have good, cleaning drinking water and it saves money and cuts down on waste from bottled water.
Enzymes promote digestion; restore pH balance and aid in vitamin and mineral absorption. Cooking foods reduce enzymes. As we get older food becomes harder to digest due to our bodies are producing less pancreatic enzymes and hydrochloric acid. To add more enzymes to your diet eat sprouted grains and raw fresh fruits and veggies. If you eat large portions, fried or processed foods, or are over the age of 40, it would be a good idea to supplement with a Food Enzyme.
Fiber fills you up so you eat les, promotes colon health, regulated the digestive system, and helps keep blood sugar glucose levels even. Most Americans consume between 11-20 grams of fiber per day. For optimal benefits we should be consuming 30-40 grams per day. The best foods to find fiber is in fresh, raw fruits and veggies, whole grains, and black, lima, and pinto beans
Multi-vitamins, or whole food supplements, provide all around benefits that boosts health and the immune system. Some signs that you are vitamin or mineral deficient are tense or fatigued muscles, headaches, frequent illness, brittle nails, food cravings and insomnia. Stay away from vitamins that have added sugars, starches, dyes and yeast. I prefer whole food supplements because they are made of food, making them easier for the body to recognize and absorb but also because they usually contain herbs that improve pH and act as anti-oxidants.
Fats are needed to transport vitamins, create certain chemicals, and regulate cholesterol. To maintain a healthy balance of fats we should be eating a ratio of 1.3:1 of Omega- 6:Omega-3 Most of us have way too much Omega-6 fat in our diets. An over abundance Omega-6 fats increase inflammation, clotting and risk of heart disease. These are found in meats, dairy products and most eggs. Omega-3 fats, have been shown to reduce inflammation, clotting, and the risk of heart disease. These fats are found in fish flaxseeds, walnuts, free-range eggs and dark leafy green vegetables. If you choose to increase your Omega 3 fats by taking a fish oil supplement make sure it has at least 100 mg each of DHA and EPA and is mercury free.
Anti-oxidants protect us from free radicals. Our bodies are always making free radicals and are designed to be able to combat a normal amount of these intruders. However, we are faced with numerous environmental factors that increase the amount of free radicals in our system. Excessive production of free radicals can cause cellular damage. This cellular damage can speed up the aging process and lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer. The best sources of anti-oxidants are raw, organic, fresh fruits and veggies. Strawberries, raisins, blueberries, garlic and dark chocolate are all high in anti-oxidants. Other commercially available sources are noni and mangosteen juice.
Probiotics are “good” or “friendly” bacteria that help digestion, break down food, and aid in nutrient absorption. Examples of “bad” bacteria are e-Coli, or salmonella. If you have ever taken an antibiotic, antacids, prescription or over the counter drug there is a good chance you are deficient in this friendly flora.
As you may have noticed, increasing fresh fruits and veggies come up several times as ways to increase these nutrients. I cannot stress enough the importance of going the extra step and buying organic. Because of the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and over harvesting the soil, our healthy foods just don’t contain the nutrients that they used to. Organic farming practices save the integrity of the food and the land. I hope this information helps you on your journey to health.