Everyday thousands upon thousands of different supplements are purchased over the counter and the internet to help optimise one’s health. The majority of individuals are overwhelmed by the amount of different products that are out there on the shelves and this usually results in people taking more supplements than they truly need.
The truth is that these supplements will never replace proper nutrition.
Proper nutrition is always the key for optimal health, body composition and performance. However, these supplements are there to help assist your diet with any nutritional gaps, which in turn help boost recovery and performance.
So, below is a list of basic supplements that we have compiled over our time in the industry that you can easily implement into your lifestyle to help improve and boost your health.
Remember to always check with your healthcare professional if it is safe and suitable before taking any supplements.
- Whey Protein
When people think supplements, most people think protein powder.
Is it essential to take protein powder? No. But should we be taking it? Yes. Here are some reasons why.
- If you can’t eat enough protein based foods to hit your daily macro nutrients.
- If you are time poor and unable to get into the kitchen to cook enough protein based foods.
- You’re on a budget and good quality meats are too expensive.
There are so many different sorts of proteins on the market and it can be very confusing which one is best for you. When looking for a protein powder we are looking for a Whey Protein Isolate (WPI), however for those that are food sensitive or vegan a good quality pea or hemp protein is a great substitute. Also when looking for protein powder stay away from any brands that have too much carbohydrates, maltodextrin, sugar and aspartame sweeteners – look for something that is pre dominantly protein.
Magnesium is a mineral that is very crucial for the function of the body. The use of magnesium is essential for processes including bone, protein and fatty acid formation. It is also an essential mineral to help activate vitamins such as B and D, and the transmission of nerve impulses and energy production.
Studies have shown that 1/3 of Australians over the age of 18 are magnesium deficient. Signs of magnesium deficient can include fatigue, muscle cramps and poor concentration.
Magnesium is found in a variety of foods such as; nuts, seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, meats and fish.
When purchasing a magnesium supplement a general rule of thumb is you get what you pay for. On the whole purchasing a practitioner grade quality magnesium is the best, however it can be the most expensive.
- Greens Powder
There has recently been a rise in the popularity of Super Green powders on the market, what is it and what are the benefits of taking it?
Super green powders are a supplement which are made up of a variety of fruits, vegetables, algaes and grasses. Think of super greens as a multivitamin with the addition of a prebiotic, probiotic, and other nutrients that help the detoxification process of the body and antioxidants which help protect the body against disease – that’s a super greens powder.
Supplementing with a super greens powder can be very beneficial for your gut health, increasing energy levels, recovery time, alkalising the body and bone health. However, if you’re consistently able to consume 10 serves of fruits and vegetables per day then using this supplement is probably unnecessary.
Remember don’t trick yourself into thinking that drinking super greens daily is enough for your daily intake of fruit and vegetable. Remember this will never be an adequate supplement to real food and should be used in conjunction to a healthy diet.
- Essential Fatty acids
Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are of great importance to nearly all metabolic processes in the body. Increased levels of inflammatory stress brought about by increased physical stress (working out) and emotional stress (work/life balance) can increase the body’s need for essential fatty acids.
EFA’s facilitate growth, cell membrane integrity, regulation of inflammatory reactions, central nervous system integrity (brain function), they increase the adhesion of probiotic bacteria to the gut wall (good for digestion) and decrease LDL cholesterol/ blood triglyceride control (reduces bad cholesterol).
Good dietary sources of EFA’s are oily fish such as mackerel and salmon, as well as linseed oil. Including some of these sources in your diet would be a good first line treatment strategy in improving EFA levels in the body.
It would also be wise to avoid foods high in omega-6’s such as vegetable oils and peanut butter as they offset omega-3’s and are highly inflammatory (a little is OK, but one must be wary of counteracting this with increased omega-3 intake). Otherwise, a good fish or krill-oil derived omega-3 (or algae derived for our vegetarian friends) supplement with EPA/DHA has been seen to be beneficial.
Fibre is a key ingredient in maintaining a healthy digestive system. It also helps to regulate our cholesterol and glucose levels in our body.
Most Australians do not consume enough fibre. On average, most Australians are falling short of their daily required dosage of 25-30g of fibre. Having a low fibre diet can result in constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heart disease and some cancers.
Fibre can be categorised into two types: Soluble and Insoluble.
Soluble fibre is broken down into a gel like texture and binds to fatty acids, which helps slow down your digestion. This in turn keeps you feeling full for longer and slows down the release of blood sugars. This is a major reason why having good amounts of soluble fibre aids in weight loss. Good sources of soluble fibre include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.
Insoluble fibre helps hydrate and move waste through the intestines by adding the bulk to our faeces, preventing constipation. Good sources of insoluble fibre include rice, corn, wheat bran, skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrain foods.
Remember both types of fibre are beneficial to the human body and most plant foods such as fruits and vegetables contain a mixture of both types.
What about Carbs? See when & how carbs should fit into your diet!
When you can’t get all the fibre you need in your diet, taking a fibre supplement or foods/beverages with added fibre is one of the ways be are able to reach our daily goals. When looking for a fibre supplement we want a mixture between both soluble and insoluble fibre. Note that we want to be aware of some products on the market that a high in preservatives and artificial flavours which are used to enhance the flavour of a product.
Remember that supplements are there to help bridge nutritional gaps that you may have, proper nutrition is still and will always be the most important key for optimal health, body composition and performance.
Always check with your healthcare professional if it is safe and suitable before taking any supplements.
Coach Aris ‘All Supps’ Hua