You’re committed to doing 1% better with your daily diet. You are starting feel better but you know there is still room for improvement. You know there are no quick fixes when your goal is a healthy life. However, is possible to close the nutritional gap with supplements while you are a work in progress? Can a basic supplement routine really make a noticeable difference? If so, what are the best supplements for women’s health?
The truth is we are all works in progress. Even after 19 years on this journey, I have days that miss the mark when it comes to balancing my plate. Whether it’s travel, illness or just another week were you’re just trying to keep your head above water, you may need an “insurance policy” against nutritional gaps. A targeted but basic supplement routine can make a difference in not just how you feel but also in your fat loss results. Note: Please consult your doctor or pharmacist before adding any supplement to your daily routine.
The best supplements for women’s health.
Let’s start with a multivitamin. Taking a one a day multivitamin used to be the first thing I asked of new clients. As I learned more about making new habits, I switched up my curriculum but I’ve never lost my belief in the value of a basic multivitamin. We all have gaps no matter how hard we try. A basic multi-vitamin can help make up those gaps. For years, I took Natrol My Favorite Multiple One A Day. Unfortunately, they no longer make the one a day version. They have a version where you take multiple pills a day which I do recommend if you can remember to take them. My new pick is New Chapter Every Woman One Daily Multi. You can also check out Consumer Reports recommendations for drug store brands here.
Are you getting your five a day of vegetables and fruit? Do you eat at least two green vegetables a day? If getting in your vegetables is proving to be your healthy eating challenge you can use a greens powder as you transition your daily eating habits. A good greens powder needs nothing but water but you can also add some juice or put it in a smoothie. (Although I would argue adding some baby spinach to your smoothie is a good idea too.) Based on my personal taste tests and research I recommend checking out Amazing Grass Green Superfood or Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood.
When was the last time you had your vitamin D tested? According to the CDC one quarter of Americans are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency, making a Vitamin D supplement essential. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin made by time in the sun without sunscreen. Even if you’re able to get out daily, the time of year or your location on the planet in relation to the sun may hinder your ability to produce enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is critical to bone health plus a host of other conditions. Low vitamin D levels may be tied to increase risk of diabetes, certain cancers and obesity. Researchers, who conducted a study in 2015 showing the relationship between low levels of Vitamin D and obesity, suggested all overweight and obese people get their vitamin D levels tested.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning you don’t “pee it out” and too much can be toxic. Don’t take mega doses without your doctor’s instruction or approval. I personally take 1000 IU of Vitamin D3 from NOW Foods, one of my most trusted supplement brands.
If you’re not eating fish twice a week or living a plant-based lifestyle an omega-3 supplement should be part of your basic supplement routine. Omega-3 essential fatty acids aren’t produced in the body (hence the term essential) and are critical for healthy cellular function and fighting inflammation. While the jury is out on whether they fight specific conditions (like heart disease) you do need Omega-3s to keep cells healthy. Omega-3s keep cell membranes flexible and effect how cell receptors work. Meaning if you want your artery walls to relax and your insulin receptors to work properly you need to have an adequate supply of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Why would someone eating plenty of chia seeds and walnuts need a supplement? Omega-3s are made of the different elements: EPA, ALA and DHA. EPA and DHA come from marine life sources while ALA comes from the plant-based sources. ALA can be converted but it isn’t it easy for the body and it takes more than most people consume. If you’re not eating fish but are ok with fish oil, I would recommend Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega or Barlean’s Omega Swirl. If you prefer a non-fish product, I take Deva Vegan Omega DHA-EPA.
The last addition to your basic supplement routine is a good protein powder. Most women come to my pratice with a very carb heavy diet, focused on easy to grab foods like bananas, salads, oatmeal and low-fat snacks like popcorn. These aren’t bad foods at all but they are missing one of the secrets to an efficient metabolism – protein. A good protein powder can be an easy way to pump up your morning oats or make a Supershake for lunch in place of an unsatisfying salad. Click here for my top protein powder recommendations.
Just to be clear, your first priority for getting the nutrition your body needs is the food you eat. Supplements are meant to supplement a healthy diet. That means ADD TO not REPLACE. But we none of us eats a perfect diet. You may need help closing the gap while you learn new skills or fill the holes while you’re out of your regular routine. A basic regime of the best supplements for women’s health will make a difference no matter where you are on your journey.