You have lots to think about when it comes to your health and at the top of the list should be keeping inflammation in your body at bay.
Inflammation is sneaky and your daily habits can feed its flame. Chronic stress, non-restorative sleep habits, and a poor diet can contribute. What I mean by a “poor” diet is a diet low in antioxidants and nutrients while high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, processed carbohydrates, and chemicals. Eating this way can cause imbalances in your metabolism, create insulin resistance, blood sugar regulatory problems, sex hormone imbalances, altered brain chemicals, and even immune system disruption.
Here are some ways inflammation shows up in the body.
This is an imbalance in your normal gut flora which can lead to poor nutrient absorption, estrogen and hormone imbalances, a weakened immune system, and weight gain.
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2. Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress occurs when chemicals called free radicals are formed in the body due in part to diet, activity level, exposure to environmental toxins (ladies, make-up has toxins) or from smoking cigarettes, excess body weight, lack of sleep, and other lifestyle habits.
3. Chronic Stress
I just can’t stop talking about the importance of stress management. With chronic stress you have increased cortisol and catecholamine levels in the body which can impair carbohydrate metabolism, leading to increased inflammation, weight gain, insulin resistance, and even type 2 diabetes. Stress management and adequate sleep may have the biggest impact on your cravings when you are trying to make changes to your food choices.
A wellness program, using dietary supplements along with NUTRITION and LIFESTYLE changes, can significantly decrease your risk of inflammation and the symptoms associated with it including dreaded weight gain. Please always look at your plate and what you are ingesting and don’t just rely on supplements. Remember, food selection should be viewed as a lifestyle choice to promote health and not a “diet” of quick fixes and deprivation. Learning to choose foods that taste great, promote health, and are good for your metabolism is key. To quote Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
You are either feeding a disease or fighting a disease by what you choose to eat.
Here are some important essential nutrients you should be ingesting in your diet or by way of supplements when your diet won’t cover the basics. There is no “miracle supplement” that works alone for optimal health or weight loss. However, targeted dietary supplements for specific metabolic needs can have a significant impact on your health over time.
A good multivitamin is key. Look for one that contains both vitamins and minerals especially if you are still having trouble eating your vegetables. Here are a few I have used and recommend. The more expensive ones have a combination of key ingredients which allows you to take fewer pills and purchase less products.
- Thorne Basic Nutrients/2 day Good basic multi if you are eating a healthy diet.
- Thorne Multivitamin Elite Good for people who exercise regularly.
- Pure Encapsulations Women’s Nutrients For women over 40.
2. Vitamin D3
Low levels of vitamin D are common and are associated with insulin resistance, bone loss, hormonal imbalances, depression, decreased cognitive dysfunction, chronic pain, and inflammation. In postmenopausal women, low levels of vitamin D is associated with an increase in joint pain and osteoporosis. An optimal vitamin D3 level is between 50-80 ng/ml.
Make sure your vitamin D3 supplement has K2. Vitamin K2 helps move the mobilized calcium into your bones instead of into your blood vessels and supports vascular heath.
- Thorne Research Vitamin D/K2 liquid One of my favorites, mixes in water without an aftertaste.
- Douglas Laboratories K2-D3 with Astaxanthin Good for people who also have high stress since Astaxanthin is an antioxidant.
I’ll be writing another post on the many benefits of magnesium and its important role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. But for now, let me say decreased levels of this mineral increases your risk for metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Hard to believe but nearly 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this mineral. Magnesium promotes restful, restorative sleep which is vital for improved health and weight loss. Additionally, in a cross-sectional study involving 210 older individuals, optimal magnesium intake was associated with positive mood, lipid (fat) metabolism, and lean body mass. Magnesium is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and fats, as well as energy production and the utilization of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. Gas, bloating, or diarrhea may occur in some individuals and is dose dependent. If this occurs reduce the amount and the symptoms should stop.
- Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate Less likely to cause loose stool and well absorbed.
- Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate Liquid For those who don’t like to take pills.
- Thorne Research Magnesium CitraMate Great for those who also experience muscle pain.
- Thorne Research Magnesium Citrate Works great and well absorbed.
4. Vitamin C
It’s an antioxidant, which means vitamin C is a substance that inhibits oxidation and thus free radical production. I described above how oxidative stress in the body causes free radicals that can lead to disease by possibly damaging cells. Therefore, vitamin C is important for your immune system and for fat breakdown.
- Thorne Research Buffered Vitamin C Good for someone sensitive to Vitamin C and who has health reasons that dictate a need for higher vitamin C intake including smoking, alcohol ingestion, stress, diabetes, pregnancy, environmental toxicity, and the use of certain drugs.
- Thorne Research Vitamin C with Flavonoids A good basic Vitamin C.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
This is one of my favorites for all its many, many health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease your body’s production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. EPA and DHA are two omega-3 fatty acids that support the body’s cardiovascular system, maintain muscle and joint health, and promote healthy brain function as well.
- Thorne Research Super EPA Good choice from fresh cold water fish.
- Thorne Research Omega Plus This combines omega 3 with omega-6 fatty acid – GLA from borage oil (which is a natural anti-inflammatory not easily found in your diet).
- Douglas Laboratories Flax Seed Oil Great vegetarian source of fatty acids.
As mentioned, probiotics help populate your gut with beneficial bacteria and support and improve your metabolism by promoting a balanced microflora of good bacteria, further helping to decrease inflammation and improve your immune system.
An important point to remember is to avoid good bacteria “killers” like sugar, chronic stress, and alcohol.
- Pure Encapsulations Probiotic-5 Dairy and soy free but requires refrigeration.
- Thorne Research FloraSport No refrigeration needed, single serve, and easily portable.
- Thorne Research FloraMend Prime Probiotic No refrigeration needed.
Derived from turmeric, curcumin is a type of curcuminoid with powerful antioxidant properties and an anti-inflammatory benefit. In fact, the anti-inflammatory strength of turmeric has been found to be comparable to non-steroidal drugs like ibuprofen.
- Pure Encapsulations Curcumin 500 with Bioperine (Which is black pepper and improves absorption).
- Thorne Research Meriva 500-SF Another well-absorbed curcumin supplement.
Also known as Frankincense, boswellia is a traditional Ayurvedic natural medicine used for inflammatory conditions. Boswellic acids inhibit activation of inflammatory compounds and cytokines. Boswellia may help turn off reactions of the immune system that drive up inflammation.
Boswellia and turmeric make a great team and boost the beneficial nature of one another.
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