6 Supplement Categories To Add To Your Diet

Health or dietary supplements remain somewhat controversial, with many experts explaining their necessity and others claiming you get everything you need from diet alone. However, diet is not universal. It is impossible to understand if everyone is getting the nutrients they need from what they consume without inspecting their intake. Blanket statements that make general assumptions about populations fail to address specific needs within communities. 

While this article will not resolve the debate over supplements, it aims to address specific vitamins and minerals that can help support a system. The primary takeaway should not be that supplements are necessary or unnecessary, but rather they balance an already nutrient-dense diet.

1. Skin Health

Skin damage occurs because of sun exposure, lifestyle, and dietary choices. Poor diet or smoking can cause premature aging, as can prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays. Several vitamins have shown potential for improving skin conditions and reducing wrinkles, including vitamins A, C, and E. Additionally, some topical treatments that include collagen can benefit the skin, helping to repair damage and improve elasticity.

2. Bone Health

Vitamin D is known for its skeletal health benefits. Many people can get their vitamin D requirements by spending between 15 and 20 minutes outside every day without sunscreen. Unfortunately, most people, up to 95% or more, do not spend adequate time outdoors, meaning they might be deficient. If you don’t spend enough time outside, consider taking a vitamin D supplement, at least 400 to 800 IU per day.

3. Eye Health

As people age, eye health can deteriorate. There are many contributing factors, from genetics to diet and exposure. Antioxidants can help protect the eyes from damage, including problems caused by inflammation and free radicals. Vitamins A and C and lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect your vision. These supplements can contribute to cornea, macula, and lens health throughout your life.

4. Gut Health

The gut microbiome is a delicate system, and while it is often OK on its own, illness and medications can interfere with the production and health of good bacteria. Good gut bacteria help to produce and distribute vitamins and enzymes. These bacteria also help to crowd out harmful bacteria and destroy them.

When looking for a probiotic supplement, you want to pay attention to the CFUs on the label. The most effective probiotic supplements will have a minimum of 50 billion CFUs and strain diversity. Some of the strains to look for include:

  • Lactobacillus Plantarum
  • Bacillus clausii
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bacillus subtillis
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus

5. Inflammation Response

Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil supplements might fight inflammation. While it is widely understood that eating fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel, is the best source of omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, some people have a natural aversion to seafood. For those who can’t eat fish several times per week, consider taking supplements, about 1,000 milligrams daily.

Vitamins A, C, and E can also reduce the inflammation response by counteracting hormonal responses and managing blood sugar levels. However, before taking any supplement, talk to your primary care physician about which supplements are safe for you to take.

6. Energy and Mental Health

B vitamins are vital to cellular processes and mental health and endurance. A deficiency can lead to increased anxiety and reduced energy levels, leading to fatigue. Many people deficient in B vitamins are often on plant-based diets; although, even meat-eaters can struggle to absorb enough.

What vitamins and supplements do you take if any? Leave a comment below explaining why you do or do not take supplements, and help move the conversation forward.

How Cutting Out Alcohol Can Impact Your Energy

After a stressful day at work or an evening spent listening to kids fighting, a few big swigs of alcohol can sound pretty appealing. A lot of people think there’s nothing wrong with enjoying booze regularly and watching your worries melt away. Sure, they’ll still be there in the morning, but the brief reprieve can be really nice.

But before you reach for a cold one, you should realize the impact alcohol consumption can have on your overall energy levels. Since we’re at the cusp of another new year, I figured it’s the perfect time to talk about how cutting out alcohol can impact your energy and improve your quality of life.

What Alcohol Does To Your Body

Do you live for Happy Hour? If so, have you ever stopped to wonder why drinking regularly actually causes you to feel less happy and more lifeless? Do you notice a huge slump in energy after a night of partying? That’s because alcohol is a sedative. It can make you drowsy, but it often leads to low-quality, interrupted sleep (which can leave you looking and feeling like a zombie the next day).

If you feel physically drained all the time, it may be time to take a good, hard look at alcohol (just a look, not a drink!) It may be the sneaky villain you didn’t realize was stealthily sabotaging your life while pretending to be your best friend. That’s pretty rotten.

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What Happens When You Cut Out Alcohol

If you’re still not convinced that alcohol is the archenemy of your energy levels, here are a few of the amazing things you could experience if you cut it out of your life. Just pretend it’s your ex-boyfriend and there’s no way you’re letting him weasel his way back into your heart. Once you kick alcohol out for good, you’ll likely experience:

  • Increased Energy: Without the constant impact of morning hangovers, you’ll be amazed at how energetic you feel when you wake up. You’ll also experience higher-quality sleep when you don’t drink alcohol.
  • Fewer Food Cravings: Did you know booze can trigger food cravings? It activates AgRP neurons, which trigger intense hunger and can make you crave unhealthy things.
  • Easier Weight Maintenance: Alcohol is not a low-calorie drink, which means you’ll have a harder time maintaining a healthy weight if you consume it regularly. When you stop drinking those extra calories, your waistline will respond in kind.
  • Decreased Risk of Dehydration: Alcohol is dehydrating because it’s a diuretic and flushes water out of your body. Replacing alcohol with a healthier choice (such as fruit-infused water) is a great way to increase hydration.
  • Improved Digestion: One of the surprising drawbacks of alcohol consumption is that it can alter the gastric motility of your stomach. This means it can make it harder for you to digest the food you eat. When you stop drinking alcohol, your digestion will most likely improve.
  • Reduced Risk of Disease: Excess alcohol consumption is linked to diseases such as heart disease and liver disease. When you stop indulging in booze, you reduce your risk of developing these life-threatening health conditions.
  • Healthier Skin: Since alcohol is a diuretic, it can dry out your skin and cause it to look dull and saggy. Fortunately, you can reverse this effect by simply staying away from alcohol. It only takes a few days of abstinence in most cases to notice that the skin looks and feels plumper and more hydrated.

This list is just a small snapshot of how your life could improve if you decided to cut alcohol out of it. Not everyone can quit cold turkey, and that’s OK! As long as you’re consistently making efforts to consume less booze, you’ll eventually find it easier to replace alcohol with healthier options. When things get hard, just remember you’re doing this to improve your health and energy.