Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Health Supplements: Yay or Nay?

A topic I always find interesting in the beauty world is health supplements and, quite frankly, do they work? Walk into any pharmacy, supermarket or health shop and you'll find supplements for everything and anything - from topping up your daily vitamins to assisting weight loss, beating stress, and helping to clear skin. So one of the biggest questions is do they actually work and do we need them?

While I'm no health expert I thought it would be insightful to share my thoughts and opinions. Most research and health websites will advise "food first" and "plate over pill". This essentially means we should use our diets to get the vitamins and nutrients that we need. Supplements can plug nutrition gaps in our diet but they cannot replace the nutrients and benefits of foods and they are not a one way ticket to good health. The nutrients and, more importantly, fibre found in food cannot be solely duplicated into one pill.

However, when the good we are eating doesn't contain some essential minerals or vitamins - such as calcium, potassium or Vitamin B / Vitamin D, a supplement can help to boost nutritional benefits. Supplements are good way of maintaining health, alongside a balanced lifestyle, and can help prevent deficiencies and health conditions.

Personally I didn't bother with health supplements for some time as I didn't think they would be beneficial, however, there are some that I have recently introduced into my daily lifestyle and I am already starting to see the benefits.

Firstly, I can't believe I didn't start using probiotics sooner and don't know where I'd be without them. If anyone has digestion problems or suffers with bloating then I cannot recommend probiotics enough. Essentially, digestive health is linked to an imbalance of bacteria in our gut and probiotics work to promote a healthy balance of bacteria. I used to get constant bloating and generally have a lot of discomfort around my stomach area but since taking a probiotic each day I am so much more comfortable and the cramps and bloating is a thing of the past.

I was recently at a health and fitness event and there was a bottle of 'Eat Your Greens' from Potion in my goodie bag. I'd never heard of this brand before and hadn't considered taking daily vitamin supplements but as it was there I decided to give it a go! The supplements are packed full of antioxidants including Spirulina, Wheat Grass, Spinach and Barley Grass. I particularly like the idea of Eat Your Greens as it is completely different to your average multi-vit and bundles all the healthy things that I'm often guilty of avoiding into one easy to take capsule. I can't say I'm suddenly a glowing goddess or have a sudden burst of energy that allows me to go on five mile runs every day - but I'd like to think it's working all sorts of wonders inside!

I am also trialling taking different supplements to improve my skin. Admittedly the main way for me to do this is to eat more fruit and vegetables, cut back on "beige" foods, get plenty of sleep and drink more water, but I'm hoping that supplements will give me a helping hand along the way. Vitamin E is great for improving skin radiance and you can also get collagen tablets to boost skin elasticity. For those with skin conditions, some people use Mirvaso Gel for rosacea.

Do you take any health supplements?

*Post in collaboration wtih The Independent Pharmacy


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