Q: Are daily supplements necessary if I’m trying to be as healthy as possible?
A: Daily supplements are meant to do what their name suggests—supplement your diet—and whether or not you need them depends on a few factors.
Our bodies are designed to absorb nutrients from the food we eat, and healthy, whole foods—like fresh vegetables, lean meats, and fatty fish—contain complex combinations of macro- and micronutrients bundled into perfect nutrient packages. Ideally, we would all eat the perfect amounts of just the right foods from the the right places, grown the right way, to obtain optimal nutrition 24-7. (You know there’s a “but…” coming, right?)
But…our food supply, busy lifestyles, and individual choices can make it difficult for us to meet our many nutrient needs. This is especially true for certain groups of people who need more of certain nutrients.
This is where supplements come in. Think of them like insurance for your body: they can’t replace a healthy diet, but when your body needs a little extra help, they’ve got your back. Here are few simple rules to follow.
Rules of Daily Supplements
- Take these first. There are a handful of supplements that I’ve always recommended to my clients because I think they’re the most important ones for optimal health and often ones that we’re not getting enough of. Check them out, here. (I even helped formulate a line of supplements for Life’s Abundance, which includes many of the ones you’ll see on the list.)
- Know your needs. Certain groups of people may need specific supplements more than others, like pregnant women (folate!), vegetarians and vegans (B12!), the elderly, and those with medical conditions. If you’ve got a restricted diet or are having health issues, be sure to consult one-on-one with a registered dietitian or physician. For instance, if you’ve got major issues with digestion, a specific probiotic might help.
- Think situationally. You may need to take supplements on a situational basis, depending on your lifestyle. After an incredibly intense workout, for instance, a high-quality protein powder may be necessary (unless you have time to sit right down for a grass-fed steak, which I’m guessing you don’t). You can also take supplements to help with insomnia or brain fog. Think about what you really need, and pop a pill (or powder) accordingly.