Friday 2 December 2016

What’s up with all these supplements? Here’s our top five for overall health

Published 16/04/2015 | 14:12

No matter what your goal or lifestyle, almost everyone can benefit from incorporating some supplements into their daily routine.

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Even if your diet is abundant in fresh, healthy produce, supplements are still useful for filling in the gaps.

With demanding and hectic schedules that push and pull us in every direction - an increasing amount of Irish consumers are turning to pills, powders or liquids that promise to pack a major nutritional punch.

A lot of people, either due to genetics or lifestyle choices, have specific deficiencies. If you find you are lethargic, lacking in energy, have mood swings, dull skin or excessive tiredness - this is a dead giveaway. Put your mind at ease by having a blood test with your GP who can analyse for a myriad of issues with a quick checkup.

In the meantime, here are five additions to your diet that everyone can benefit from:

1. Probiotics

Start your day by taking a probiotic capsule on an empty stomach, washed down with hot water and lemon. Why? Most people do not have the good bacteria required to properly eliminate waste in the intestines and gut, and with a buildup of waste - nutrients are not absorbed properly. A probiotic will help get rid of the build up of toxins, while also improving your immune system.

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2. Fish Oils

Essential Fatty Acids are not manufactured by the body and therefore must be obtained through diet or supplementation. These fatty acids provide omegas 3, 6 and 9; our internal system needs to be well lubricated with the oils derived from these good fats to ensure everything keeps ticking along. Fish oils are believed to also help burn stored fats for energy, enhance brain power and lower blood pressure.

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3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin” so it is not surprising that many Irish people are lacking in it due to our nation's cooler climate. This vitamin is essential for healthy bones, but is present in very few foods. Vitamin D is particularly important in the diet of women, as it helps boost fertility and limit risks of breast cancer and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

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4. Stress Fighter

Bach’s Rescue Remedy Dropper was recently voted as the best stress supplement in the Boots Vitamins Awards. Developed almost 100 years ago, the popular blend contains a mixture of Vitamins A, B, C, D and E which support emotional wellbeing and promote a positive state of mind.

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(Boots, €9.99)

5. Spirulina

Spirulina is often cited as one of the healthiest substances in the world. The single cell algae contains highly usable protein (300 percent more than chicken), and is a good source of iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, chlorophyll and Vitamin B12, which makes it a fantastic energy booster. (Bare in mind, spirulina in powdered form is not one for the faint hearted so consider incorporating the capsules at first or mixing a powder into smoothies)

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(Have a Superlife, €14.95)

For people who actively train three to five times a week, intense exercise depletes energy reserves which can leave your body at an increased risk of nutrient deficiencies. As a result, it’s imperative to replenish your system with nutrients to aid energy production and recovery.

Aaron Smyth, a personal trainer and creator of the popular protein-enriched ‘Cleantella’ chocolate spread, believes it is best to ask your own trainer what supplements you should be taking.

“Seek the advice of a professional that you trust. There are too many budget trainers out there that are just looking to make a quick buck. People wonder why things don't really work when it comes to the gym, but if my car was broke I'd seek the service of a mechanic. So same applies to our bodies.”

Aaron and his fitness enthusiast girlfriend Leanne recently launched a YouTube channel where they will answer queries about diet and health.

Watch below for their top tips on which supplements to include.

Follow The Fit Life on YouTube  and Instagram.

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