If you have ever walked into a GNC, then you know it can be a bit overwhelming. For those who do not know what a GNC is well, imagine that it is like a candy store. But, all the candy is actually supplements, there are no samples and they do more than give you a sugar rush.
Truly, picking out the best supplements my seem like a daunting task, but it is actually quite simple. Whether you are male or female, physically active or sedentary, there are three supplements that I swear by when considering my dietary needs.
First, I believe that fish oil is necessary for a healthy heart.
Next, Vitamin D is obligatory when trying to survive Chicago winters.
Lastly, whey protein helps me stay on track with my macronutrients.
Please note that all of these supplements should not be used to replace natural foods or nutrients, and instead are only used in addition to them if you feel that you are falling short of your body’s daily intake needs.
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The first supplement that I like to use is fish oil. Fish oil is obtained from eating or consuming the pill form of the tissue of oily fish and the most common sources are tuna, salmon, cod liver, mackerel, herring, and whale and seal blubber. These fish are especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that the body needs to function effectively and efficiently. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish oil have been linked with maintaining healthy blood and heart systems in the body since they may help with a multitude of health benefits to prevent and manage heart disease.
Multiple findings have supported the notion that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure, lessen the chances of sudden cardiac death for those who have heart disease, slow the development of plaque in the arteries and reduce the chances of heart attack and stroke for all individuals.
As a result, one may believe that following the American Heart Association guidelines of eating fish twice a week is a simple approach to overall well-being and a healthy heart.
However, some might find that preparing and cooking fish isn’t how they want to spend their evenings while others may feel that they cannot afford the fish that they prefer to eat.
Because of these restrictions, consuming fish oil as a dietary supplement is not only easier and quicker, but it can be the more economical choice for those who want to better themselves without spending an arm and a leg on wild-caught salmon.
Some of our favorite fish oil supplements are:
Next, for those who are (unfortunately, like me) trapped in a very cold place a couple months out of the year, then investing in Vitamin D3 may be a great option.
In fact, the median age of onset of SAD is between 20 and 30 years, which means if someone is a recent grad working in an office in a city that has winter (like Chi-beria), then they are at risk.
Regardless of age, gray skies can make anyone feel a little down, so looking to taking Vitamin D as a supplement is a bright idea. Vitamin D is produced by the body as a result of sun exposure.
However, when it is winter or when sunshine is scarce, most lack Vitamin D, so people may find themselves feeling depressed, tired and more prone to illnesses.
Vitamin D3 is an ideal supplement to take in the wintertime since it keeps bones healthy, reduces the risk of influenza, cancer, hypertension and other diseases.
This vitamin not only helps lift your mood, but it keeps your immune, nervous and brain system functioning efficiently. If this doesn’t sound like an ideal supplement, then I don’t know what does.
Some of our favorite Vitamin D3 supplements are:
Finally, the last supplement that I swear by using is whey protein. Quick disclaimer – if you follow a strict Paleo diet, whey protein is not for you. Check out our paleo protein powder guide for your paleo options. But if you can tolerate dairy, whey protein could be a good supplement for you.
Whey protein is the result of turning milk into cheese and is a complete protein by-product that contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content.
Milk consists of two proteins: casein (80%) and whey (20%). Whey is the liquid part of milk that separates when you make cheese. After the whey is separated from milk, it goes through a series of processing steps to become whey protein powder.
Whey protein consists of amino acids that have been found to be absorbed quickly, which makes it a popular dietary supplement that we know today.
One study published in Nutrition and Metabolism showed that individuals that consumed whey “lost significantly more body fat and showed a greater preservation of lean muscle” when compared to the control group.
Another study published in The British Journal of Nutrition explored the notion of whey protein and its ability to lower cholesterol and the results found that “there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol at week 12 in the whey group compared with the casein (group).”
In addition to these studies, Medical News Today examined other studies that showed whey protein has also been associated with improving the immune response in children with asthma, reducing blood pressure in patients with hypertension, reducing weight loss in people with HIV and even anti-cancer properties.
Evidently, whey protein has been shown to have many benefits and can help you reach your fitness goals.
Some of our favorite whey protein supplements are:
Supplements Should *Supplement* A Well-Balanced Diet
Supplements are meant to help you meet your goals, but they shouldn’t be used to simply replace a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Occasionally, you may need some assistance when trying to maintain a certain level of health, and supplements will be there to help you.
Of all the supplements available, I feel that my favorites are: fish oil, Vitamin D and whey protein.
Through numerous studies and research, it is clear that these three supplements can truly benefit an individual when they find themselves unable to meet their required nutritional needs through traditional dietary means.
So next time you find yourself in a GNC, take a look out for these three supplements, and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.
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