We love supplements, but there are a few things to be mindful of when going down the route of supplementation.
Not all supplements are created equal
Whole foods first
First let's look at why we take take supplements in the first place.
Often it can be confusing when social media and other media platforms are bombarding us with new supplements and the ways in which they will 'change your life'.
The truth is supplements are awesome when taken as well as a whole food, nutrient rich diet with an emphasis on antioxidant rich foods (colourful fruits and vegetables).
Even when you are eating a rockstar, nutrient rich diet, it is not always easy to get in everything. There are also times in our lives that may be more stressful and taxing. This is where supplements come in.
Supplements should be used to super charge an already rich diet. When using supplements or choosing what to use we should consider where we may be falling short or where we might want to get a little extra. Supplements should definitely not be used to get in your 'five a day' because you would rather not eat them.
FYI - We are more of a 12 a day kid of people.
In this article we are mainly looking at supplementation for micro nutrient needs. We will look at supplements like protein and fibre at another time.
In most cases we look to address nutrient deficiencies using whole foods first before looking at supplements at all, but in some cases we will put in some good quality supplements at the start whilst we work methodically to help change a lifetime of bad habits around food and lifestyle.
If you see one of these adverts that convince you that a supplement will give you everything you need to lead a healthy life and you can't resist, check two things first.
Where the ingredients have come from and how they have been extracted.
When looking at where the ingredients have come from you should be looking for whole food sources and not lots of names you do not recognise. Also you should be looking for the highest quality whole food sources possible, if we are looking for something to supercharge our nutrient intake then those nutrients should ideally come from organic sources that will be richer in nutrient content and will not be bringing any harmful friends along for the ride.
In order to make something a supplement, we have to extract the nutrients and make them easier to consume and absorb.
When taking supplements that have been created using whole food sources, often you will find that the whole food will be present in the supplement rather than one particular micro nutrient being extracted in isolation to the other micro nutrients present in that food.
Why is this important?
Nature is incredibly smart, much smarter than us. We have some amazing knowledge due to the incredible work scientists have done to date, but we only know what we know, we don't know what is yet to be discovered. Information is often only found when we start looking for it and there are lots of amazing benefits our food can give us that we are yet to discover.
The make up of any food source is not accidental, nature has done an incredible job in pairing nutrients together to enhance the effects a food can have. Everything happens in incredible synergy not in isolation.
Trust in nature.
The way in which our supplements are extracted and created is just as important as where the nutrients have come from. As you may already know, I have a background in juicing and juicing remains one of my personal favourite forms of supplementation. But not all juice is a glass full of nutritional abundance.
Everyone love fresh Orange juice!
BUT, if drinking for the amazing benefits Oranges have to give us, then Orange juice grabbed off the shelf of a supermarket will more often than not, be derived of the majority of its original nutrient content.
Why is that.
Nutrients are lost due to oxidation, think of it like the dodgems, oxygen is racing around bumping into everything and damaging everything in its path. In some cases this process is slow, for example - rust is caused by oxidation but very slowly.
When you cut an apple in half and leave it out it starts to go brown, this is caused by oxidation.
In the case of juicing, where you are separating the fibre from the juice - the process of extraction can mean everything.
When extracted fast with a centrifugal juicer, heat is created and the juice is damaged much quicker by increasing the rate of oxidation and killing any nutrient value within 15 minutes.
When extracted slowly, without any heat created by using a slow juicer or a cold press juicer - oxidation happens at a much slower rate. The full nutrient value of that juice can be present for as long as 5 days.
This is where the problem lies with most store bought juice, one - it has been sitting in the bottle for much longer than 5 days (even if it says it cold pressed) and its more often than not been pasteurised, meaning it has been heated to 200 degrees to kill any bacteria that could shorten the shelf life. The problem is, it also wipes out all the good guys at the same time.
Pasteurisation is one method used to increase the shelf life of a food product, when buying juice for supplementary reasons, ALWAYS look for raw - unpasteurised juice. And for even more benefits go organic too.
There is a really clever way of maintaining a lot of the nutrient value with juice whilst increasing the shelf life dramatically.
Freeze drying and dehydrating the juice.
There are some great products out there if the idea of juicing daily doesn't suit you. Below are two of my favourite juice supplement products and companies.
Organify is possibly the most comprehensive juice powders on the market but it is not cheap and also, if you are shipping anywhere other than USA you will be hit with an additional charge.
8 Greens is a bit more affordable, very easy to use and can be delivered next day through amazon prime.
Keep watching our blog for more details on juicing and how to use it to enhance your life.
Juice is just one example of a supplement type. Another one of our favourites is mushroom extractions.
Mushrooms, in particular, medicinal mushrooms are EXTREEMLY powerful. Scientists have been aware of the powers of medicinal mushrooms for a very long time, so much that you will find elements of mushroom in 80 % of the worlds pharmaceutical drugs.
Our favourite mushroom extract company is Four Sigmatic
Go check them out and read up on the amazing benefits of mushrooms.
When looking for supplements, look for those that are created by utilising the whole food whilst extracting the nutrients in a way that preserves the goodies for us to benefit from.
Only use supplements to add EXTRA nutritional bang into your diet. Definitely do not think of your supplement as a way of getting those things you know you need but don't really want to eat.
If you are thinking of using supplements instead of making changes to your diet but realise that diet is really what you need to focus on - get in touch and chat with a coach to talk about your options.
We love helping people make the changes they want to make!
We know how to make changing easier!