Should You Take Supplements?

to-supplement-or-not-to-supplementThe short and narrow of what supplements to take and whether or not to supplement. Considering there is so much information out there today, it is generally confusing and overwhelming. As a rule of thumb for your own health & well-being: it’s really truly all about taking back control & owning your own health sovereignty, by becoming more aware of food labels & getting to know what works for your body. 

Health is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Find out what we think about supplementing your diet in the article below. 

 

To start off, let’s have a look at supplements …
Are supplements just expensive urine and why can’t we just get all our nutrients from food?
First things first – you have very unique biochemistry in your body, meaning you are the only one that can fine-tune your nutrition! What may work for some, may not work for you, and that’s ok. Nutrition is a highly personalized journey which you will need to find out for yourself. If and how we need to supplement depends on many complexities as an individual including our individual genetic makeup, digestion, intolerances, absorption, lifestyle, habits, conditioning, stress levels and exposure to environmental {+ other} toxins.

If you eat junk food, smoke and don’t exercise much, you can’t expect your body to function optimally off poor nutrient and protect yourself against viruses and illnesses if your basic fundamentals of health aren’t met. Bottom line is, you get out what you put in. So if you eat clean, healthy foods your body can absorb & metabolise the nutrients effectively and function more efficiently. Consider this, if you put any other fuel into your car, other than the precise type of fuel it requires, will it work? Perhaps you’ll get away with driving a block down the road, but rest assured your engine will cease. Luckily for us, our bodies have the capacity to still keep us alive and ‘driving’, but along the route, we’ll meet pathogens & toxins that will build up in our systems over time and our engines will also ‘cease’.

This analogy for us drives home exactly how quintessential the ingredients in our foods are, including that of our supplements. For example; did you know that most vitamin B1 supplements are made from derivatives of coal tar? That you can actually extract iron from iron-fortified foods with a magnet? And that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is made by reacting high fructose corn syrup with sulfuric acid? It’s essential to know these things, especially when you’re spending a fortune on supplements or health products & you’re not feeling a difference in your body. If you know exactly what you’re ingesting, then you’ll also know there is a big difference between nutrients from whole foods and the nutrient ingredients used in the vast majority of supplements. 

Pay close attention to what you put into your body & get to know your own signs & symptoms from ingredients as they may cause food intolerances or nutrient deficiencies. Every little reaction in your body is your body talking to you, guiding you to the best possible choices for your optimal health. After all, your body’s number one priority is keeping you alive. Learn to trust it’s intuition.  

Here are just a few ways your body might be talking to you: 

White spots on your fingernails

You may need more zinc-rich foods⁣⁣ in your diet. Raw Cacao is a superfood rich in zinc, along with other minerals such as Magnesium & Iron, vitamins such as Vitamin A, B, C & Calcium, antioxidants & prebiotics. Not to mention the wholefood contains enzymes & fibres that help our body’s with digestion.

Lethargy, low energy & constant yawning

If you had a good night’s rest and you’re still low on energy you may want top up on Iron, B Vitamins & whole digestible Proteins. Raw Cacao & Hemp Protein are hands down two hero superfoods that recover your energy levels. We’ve already mentioned above how nutrient-dense raw cacao is, but what we haven’t mentioned yet is that it is what we call a ‘nutrient carrier’, much like a delivery vehicle, cacao has the capacity to transport nutrients deep into your cellular tissue, making the nutrients more ‘bio-available’ and easy to absorb. By combining raw cacao and hemp protein powder or even hemp seeds, your body is getting all the nutrients from the raw cacao plus alkalising proteins & essential omega fatty acids from hemp.

Headaches

Your body could be asking you to reassess your water intake, monitor to your caffeine intake, bump up your detox or oxygenate your blood. The recommended daily water intake is around 2litres and recommended daily coffee intake is about 1 cup. To oxygenate your body you can practice 5 minutes of daily deep belly breathing, bump up detox support with powerful detoxifying foods (spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass )or eat blood oxygenating foods ( maca, spirulina ).

A note on spirulina & chlorella: These two wholefood supplements ( or superfoods ) are very similar but have unique differences. Read more about the differences between spirulina vs chlorella.

Spots & breakouts not part of your normal monthly cycle

This is potentially either stress-related or related to hormonal imbalances. It’s probably in your best interest to consult with gynaecologist or dermatologist if breakouts become severe, but the occasional blemish outside of your menstrual cycle might mean need you need some additional nutritional support to help your body. Adaptogens are fabulous for this! They are so unique in their composition that they affect every single body in a different way. Depending on your internal composition & biochemistry, they will do some window shopping & scout what needs fine-tuning in your body & then enter to correct these imbalances where needed. Some adaptogens include ashwagandha , chaga, maca, goji berriesreishi .

Bumps on back the back of your arms

Look out for gluten sensitivity. Some foods, albeit not obvious may contain gluten or gluten in its ingredients. These bumps occur when you have an overload of gluten in your body. This is luckily easy to correct by just reducing the amount of gluten you consume ( like bagels, bread, wraps, muffins, pasta etc. ) and over a period of a few weeks you’ll notice the bumps disappearing.

 

What you need to know about Whole Food Supplements vs Synthetic Supplements.

supplements-vs-wholefood-nutritionTake calcium. Most of the calcium in supplements or food products that contain added calcium isn’t derived from natural sources, it’s often ‘calcium carbonate’. Which can be derived from limestone, marble or even chalk.  Or it’s produced by the sedimentation of the shells of small fossilised snails, shellfish, and coral. This is the least absorbable form of calcium on the market. Your body literally can’t utilise the isolated calcium without certain co-factors being present.

Now let’s look at a multi-vitamin. Chances are if the list has over 20 ingredients, we’ll be happy as we believe ” more is more”. Right? But that’s not the case when it comes to supplements ‘more’ is certainly not better. When supplements are taken in high doses or in isolated forms (away from their natural composition and counterparts), it can lead to unhealthy imbalances. Nutrients affect each other’s absorption, such as copper + zinc and manganese + iron. These interdependent nutrients appear together in foods, but not always in isolated supplements. Our bodies might do well with these synthetic vitamins initially because of some extreme deficiencies. But over the course of time, taking high dose supplements of single nutrients can affect the absorption and metabolism of other nutrients, creating imbalances as well as potentially adding stress to the body.

Foods are complex in their nutrients because nutrients need each other to be properly absorbed and integrated into our bodies. There are enzymes, coenzymes, co-vitamins, minerals, and other factors that help the nutrients work together synergistically. Scientists don’t know how all this works, and they probably never will. It’s the magic and mystery of nature.

Bottom-line is …

superfood-supplements-soaring-free

Real food or natural organic wholefoods & nutrient diversity is the answer! The less altered the better & the closer to their natural state with their integrity intact the better. 

Nutrient diversity is quintessential. And since we are all creatures of habit, by nature us humans are, it’s quite challenging to get broad-spectrum nutrients in if we favour certain food groups.

There are two easy ways to enhance your spectrum of nutrients:

  • Start thinking along the lines of “eating the rainbow”. Through plant diversity, and including colourful food groups into your diet you are exposing your body to a bigger variety of nutrients. Pick seven colours from the rainbow and try to allocate a food group colour to the days of the week. You can make this as simple or complex as you want. For example, Sunday is orange, Monday is green.
  • Include small quantities of food groups into your diet that are inherently nutrient-dense and which contain a broad spectrum of nutrients, such as superfoods & potent plants. Since they are potent ( more concentrated amounts ) & contain more nutrients ( vitamins, minerals, proteins, omegas, antioxidants, phytonutrients ) than whole foods, they can be used as a ‘functional food’. In other words to used with a certain outcome or function in mind. For example: to enhance your immune system or elevate your state of mind for more mental support & mental happiness.

If you simply include functional foods like nutrient-dense superfoods & potent medicinal plants in your eating habits, you’ve got your foundation of health & deficiencies covered! Then there will be no need to have to take artificial or synthetic supplements.

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