If you're looking to boost your nutrition, a healthy diet is key. Experts agree that eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats is critical to good health. But let's face it - getting your daily recommended nutrients from diet alone can be a struggle. Vitamins and supplements play a role in supporting health. But how do you know which vitamins to take?
NOW Wellness Experts - registered dietitian nutritionist DJ Blatner, functional medicine practitioner Dr. Will Cole, and registered dietitian nutritionist Maya Feller - discuss essential vitamins and minerals to support your health and wellness.
What Vitamins and Supplements Should I Take?
Vitamins, minerals and supplements can be an important component of health. Read on for tips from NOW Wellness Experts to help you feel your best.
1. Promote optimal immune health.
"Immune health relies on good habits, including colorful and balanced meals, proper hydration, good sleep and exercise," Blatner says.
Drink plenty of water and add immune-supporting foods to your diet, including garlic, vitamin C-rich foods, such as oranges and broccoli, and good sources of antioxidants, such as berries and carrots. Also, stay physically active and get plenty of rest. Get at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.
Supplements also can play a role in boosting immune health, Blatner explains.* "One of my favorites is NOW® Allibiotic CDZ™. It's a classic combination of vitamins C, D, zinc, and other powerful immune helpers, such as garlic and oregano oil."
2. Spend time in nature.
For healthy bones, get your daily dose of vitamin D* by spending time in the sun and choosing vitamin D fortified foods, such as milk or cereal.
In the winter, when you might spend more time indoors, Dr. Will Cole, a top functional health practitioner and author of bestselling book "Ketotarian," recommends a vitamin D supplement. Dr. Cole says being in nature is critical to health. Studies show that spending time outdoors might reduce stress and tension. When it's too cold to be outdoors, Dr. Cole feels closer to nature by bringing it inside. "I diffuse woodsy-scented essential oils," he says.
3. Get fishy.
Include seafood and sea vegetables in your diet to get your omega-3 fatty acids, recommends Feller. "They're a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids," she explains. "Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain, eye and heart health.* They are also involved in supporting immune function."* If you don't eat enough foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids regularly, a dietary supplement may help.
4. Support gut health.
Probiotics are good bacteria and yeasts to help balance the digestive tract microbiome.* For healthy digestion, Blatner recommends a daily probiotic supplement.* And for another healthy gut tip, Blatner suggests sipping on ginger mint tea after meals. "Ginger mint tea is soothing, and it fills you up to curtail after-meal munchies."
5. Power up with protein.
There are many benefits to adding protein to your diet. Protein supports healthy muscles, helps manage weight, promotes bone strength and boosts immune health.* Lean meats, poultry, seafood and eggs are good sources of protein. If you prefer plant-based proteins, Blatner recommends nutritional yeast, spirulina, seeds and seed butters and nuts and nut butters. "Other good sources of plant-based protein include lentils, beans and organic soybean foods, like edamame and tempeh," says Blatner.
6. Get enough potassium.
This mineral plays a role in supporting many body functions, including kidney and heart function, muscles and the nervous system.* You can get potassium from fruits, such as bananas and dried prunes and raisins, and vegetables, such as potatoes, spinach and broccoli. Other good sources of potassium include lentils, milk, meats and fish. However, some people don't get enough potassium from their diet, according to the National Institutes of Health. People who have certain health conditions and those who take medicines, such as laxatives or diuretics, may be at risk for potassium deficiency. Ask your doctor if you need a potassium supplement. "NOW® Potassium Chloride Powder is great because it can be added to water or smoothies, and it doesn't contain any added sweeteners or unnecessary ingredients," Dr. Cole says.
7. Reduce bloating.
For those times when you're feeling bloated after a meal, Blatner recommends charcoal, such as NOW® Activated Charcoal Veg Caps.* "Charcoal's porous texture may help clear irritating compounds and gas out of the digestive tract," she explains.*
Remember, when it comes to nutrition, there are no standard protocols. Your nutritional needs depend on your health and your wellness goals. Talk to a health care provider to determine what vitamins and supplements are right for you. When choosing supplements, consider safety standards, and remember that not all supplements are created equal.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.