"I eat a healthy, plant-based, balanced diet, so why do I need to take supplements?"
I know, I know. I was singing the same tune myself not so long ago. There's no definitive answer, as every body is vastly unique, and there are many people who can get away with taking no supplements at all. The truth, though, is that we're all quite deficient in certain areas without evening knowing it.
There are two "golden supplements" that I personally recommend in addition to a plant-based, intuitive eating plan.
- A high-quality fish oil (or vegan alternative).
- A high quality probiotic.
"I eat fish, why do I need to take fish oil?"
The answer is that a high-quality fish oil supplement provides concentrated, clean nutrition that supports healthy cholesterol levels, eye health, cardiovascular health and joint health, to name a few.
I'm not going to recommend a particular fish oil because, again, our bodies are different as are our budgets and physical needs. What I will give you are some MUSTS in terms of selecting a fish oil supplement:
- Third Party-Tested Product (preferably IFOS, International Fish Oil Standards, tested). This guarantees that the fish oil you're consuming is pure, and that the peroxide, anisidine, PCBs, heavy metals, lead and mercury levels, among other things, have been tested and deemed low or practically nonexistent.
- Concentration. Check the labels. Do you need to take five capsules of one brand to get the same amount of omega-3s you'd get in one capsule from another brand? The labels are tricky. All in all, you end up getting the same bang for your buck but with a lower quality product. So investigate the numbers and don't be afraid to hound the health food store staff with your questions!
- Enteric Coated. Having an enteric coating on your fish oil capsules ensures that the supplement will make it into the intestines, where it can be assimilated by the body. This coating protects our stomach acid from dissolving the capsule before it ever makes it to the small intestine. Without this coating the capsule is obliterated by the body's powerful stomach acids and you're not only losing out on the nutrients, but you're wasting your money!
- Guaranteed potency THROUGH the expiration date.
- High CFU (colony-forming units).
- Multiple strains (the more L's, Lactobacillus strains, and more B's, Bifidobacterium strains, the better).
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