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Supplements: What do you really need?


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File Photo Taking supplements can be a vital key in maintaining your health.

Are you trying to get healthier and not sure where to start when you walk down the supplement aisle? Do the large supplement stores make you nervous and you don't know where to start?

Years ago we were able to get all of our nutrients in a well-balanced diet, but that is no longer the case. Due to the poor quality of our foods the nutrients in a tomato, apple or other piece of produce is not the same as it was 50 years ago. Our soil is degraded and with all of the pesticides and fertilizers sprayed on the crops we aren't getting all of the vitamins and minerals in our food that we once did.

Taking supplements is a vital key in maintaining our health.

Not all supplements are created equal. To ensure what you are buying is safe and pure use high quality pharmaceutical grade supplements. These can be found in wellness centers or from your chiropractor, naturopath or medical physician. If it isn't free from binders and fillers, you don't want it. Avoid supplements that contain artificial colors, hydrogenated oils and titanium dioxide as these are common fillers.

Top five supplement suggestions:

n Omega 3 - The benefits of omegas are numerous, but most notably are improved heart health, mood, and cholesterol. Omegas also help with brain development and many have noticed an improvement in their children's behavior and even reduce ADHD symptoms so don't forget the omegas for the kids.

n Vitamin C - You probably know to increase your vitamin C when you have a cold, but do you know why? Vitamin C increases the protection of the immune system. It's a great supplement that should be taken year round to help immune function and not just when you are feeling under the weather. The expert recommended amount is 500 mg.

n Turmeric - The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin and is a powerful anti-oxidant and has wonderful anti-inflammatory benefits. If you aren't heavily cooking with Turmeric spice it's best to take it in a capsule form once per day.

n Magnesium - Most people are deficient in magnesium. When you get your optimal amount, which varies for everyone but is typically in the 200 mg-600 mg per day range, you should have decreased stress, less anxiety, improvement in sleep and better function in your bowels. If you drink alcohol, caffeinated or carbonated drinks, or eat a lot of sugary pastries and other sweets you will be even more deficient in magnesium. These types of foods are anti-nutrients that strip the magnesium content.

n Echinacea - Echinacea is an herb that is commonly taken when a cold or flu hits. The herb helps to reduce inflammation which helps reduce cold and flu symptoms as well as stimulates the body's immune system to help fight the virus. It's best to take Echinacea for two-week periods when you have a weakened immune system. These would be times like the start of school when the kids all swap germs, when you feel a cold or flu coming on, or when you are traveling a great deal or in a stressful time. Taking 300 mg three times a day seems to do the trick.

As with any change in your diet or health care routine consult your health care provider for what will work best with you and at what dose you may need.

Emily Countryman is a board certified health coach and owner of Ideal Wellness in Marysville. She can be reached online at .


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