The Very Best of: Natural Supplements
The best way to get all the vitamins and minerals we need to stay in tip top health is through our food. However, even a perfectly balanced diet of fresh fruit and veg, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats could use a little help from time to time. We’ve drawn up a list of the best natural supplements to boost your mind and body with a range of brilliant health benefits.
B12 takes care of your nervous system and red blood cells, as well as the metabolism of every cell in your body. It’s found naturally in meat, fish, eggs and cheese, so vegetarians and vegans need to be particularly mindful of their B12 intake. While it can be found in certain greens, like nori, spirulina and chlorella, B12 is best absorbed in small regular doses. A daily lozenge is an excellent way to keep your B12 levels up to snuff.
Bee pollen contains a rich cocktail of vitamins, minerals, lipids, fatty acids and protein. Much like local honey, it’s an excellent natural remedy for hay fever. It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, gives your immune system a boost and naturally lowers cholesterol. Bee pollen has a sweet taste and crunchy texture, so it’s perfect spooned over a smoothie bowl. Capsules are a great way to make sure you’re getting a daily dose, which is particularly important when combatting allergies.
The medicinal properties of garlic were lauded by ancient civilizations, and today is no different. Studies show that allicin, a naturally occurring compound found in garlic, can help boost your immune system, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. Allicin only forms when raw garlic is crushed or sliced, and you need to ingest around three raw cloves a day to see any results. A dinky supplement packs a powerful punch, and they’re perfect for upping your garlic intake without leaving you with garlic breath strong enough to melt the varnish off your nails.
Turmeric is a saffron-yellow spice with incredible medicinal properties. It contains a wonder-substance called curcumin, which is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and helps to fight allergies, aid digestion and boost immunity. Studies are being carried out to see what else curcumin can do, as enthusiasts link it to everything from cancer prevention to combatting depression. What we do know is that you need to consume quite a large amount of curcumin before you’ll reap the benefits, so while the odd turmeric latte may be very on-trend, you’re better off with a supplement.
Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium, phosphorus and insulin levels. Known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, your body naturally produces vitamin D3 when exposed to the sun. During the winter months, or long spells of gloomy weather, you might not be getting enough sunshine to keep your vitamin D levels up. Even during the summer, sun cream blocks the essential UVB rays necessary for your skin to produce vitamin D3. As dermatologists discourage sun exposure without a protective layer of sun cream, a daily supplement is a simple solution.
If you have any concerns about whether a particular supplement is right for you, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor first – particularly if you’re pregnant or taking prescription medication. For more information, visit our Healthnotes.