The road to good health begins with your diet. Plants and organic offerings should make the majority of your 2018 food plan, but your body might be depleted in essential nutrients. While a healthy diet is a great way to begin replenishing these stores, you could use a bit of a jump-start to get your health back on track!
If you don't know where to start, you're in luck. We're going to cut through the noise and make it easy for you: here are the five things that everyone needs to include in their diet to stay healthy!
Protein will help you tackle any number of your resolutions: if you’re going to get off the couch and into the gym, you’ll need the energy protein provides; a protein supplement might be necessary if you’re planning on cutting meat out of your diet; or you're just in need of more time in the morning! A lot of us can’t meet our protein needs via our diet, or have made plans that would compromise this - we want to cut down on our meat consumption for ethical or environmental reasons, increase our plant consumption, or are allergic to nuts.
It's important that the proteins we get are complete, because the nine essential amino acids that make up protein are important building blocks for your bones, muscles, joints, and cartilage. But not all proteins are complete, especially if they're plant-based. This means you have to choose the right one!
Try:Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+. If you’re new to proteins, you might not know about the digestive issues they can cause. Organic whey proteins are generally good options, but using one for the first time can be an easy way to find out your gut won’t agree with that much dairy protein. Even many plant-based alternatives, like soy, can cause problems. Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+ is predigested, giving users a complete amino acid profile that’s easier for your body to process. A completely vegan protein, with 20g of protein per serving, the Fermented Vegan Protein line is also, as the name suggests, fully fermented, making them good for your gut bacteria!
Magnesium is another natural source of energy, but it does so much more. It’s essential for the production of more than 300 enzymes and processes in the body. Things like protein synthesis, blood sugar regulation, and DNA formation all require this element. But not enough Canadians are getting magnesium, and according to Health Canada, it’s one of the nutrients with "the highest prevalence of inadequate intakes."[i]
Being deficient in magnesium can result in sleep deprivation, lack of energy, lower insulin resistance, poor appetite, and mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Low magnesium levels have been linked to bone and joint diseases like osteoporosis, as magnesium is important to bone density and preventing low-grade inflammation.[ii] Deficiencies are often a "predisposing factor for chronic inflammatory stress", and this stress is linked to a wide range of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. [iii]
Try: Natural Calm powder makes adding magnesium to your diet as simple as possible. Natural Calm is magnesium citrate, a form of magnesium that is much more bioavailable and soluble than others forms you might find in supplements. As a powder, it's great to put in both hot and cold drinks!
It's not secret that greens are good for you, and you probably learned this as a kid at the dinner table, plugging your nose and swallowing your broccoli before leaving. It can be a pain to get them as often as we should, though, and if they aren’t meticulously grown and sourced, they might not be as healthy as they should be. Modern agricultural techniques have emphasized size and shape over nutritional value, stripping the soil of key nutrients and leaving our vegetables without as many vitamins and minerals as they used to.[iv]
It’s not the standards vitamins you want, either. A glass of juice might seem like an easy way to get vitamin C, but all you'll be getting with it is a large dose of sugar. Whole fruits and veggies provide many other beneficial nutrients and minerals, including phytonutrients, digestive enzymes, and fibre. Incorporating more of them into your diet is crucial, and plant-based powders can make it a lot easier.
Try: Amazing Grass Green Superfood is certified organic, non-GMO, and vegan. It's a blend of wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, spirulina, chlorella, and broccoli, and it comes in an amazing 14 flavours (even Pumpkin Spice, so you can feed that #PSL addiction without feeling guilty). It's easy to use, too: throw a scoop of it into a morning smoothie, juice, or a glass of water, and you're good to go!
Laying the groundwork for a healthy body often means greens, magnesium, and the right proteins. But you not only have to focus on what's in your body - you also have to aid what lives on your body. While you can't see it, your microbiota (the collection of bacteria living in your body) is huge - it numbers anywhere between one bacteria for every human cell, to three bacteria for every human cell. Good bacteria, like the various strains of Lactobacillus,are needed to process your fibres efficiently, create fatty acids, synthesize vitamins B and K, etc.. This is beneficial not just for breaking down your food properly, but also for inflammation reduction and even mental health!
To get all the benefits from your microbiota, you have to win the war against bad bacteria. Dietary changes are a good start, with a focus on healthy fibres and plant-based foods while reducing the amount of sugar you ingest. Regardless of your diet, everyone could stand to call in the cavalry! This comes in the form of probiotics, supplement capsules filled with live, healthy bacteria that help line your digestive tract and colon with beneficial bacteria. They have been shown to help boost immunity, regulate mood, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation.
Try: Garden of Life has put out specific probiotic supplements for different bodies: Dr. Formulated Women’s or Men's Once Daily.It has been designed to enhance digestive health, and each formula is made with strains chosen with specific bodily needs in mind. Women's Once Daily, for instance, includes L. reuteri, which has been shown to aid vaginal health.
You know fish oil. Now's the time to make it a common part of your diet. This popular supplement is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two omega-3 fatty acids that we need to get from our diet, as our bodies can't produce them (putting the essential in essential fatty acid). Omega-3s play an important role in brain function, normal growth, and reducing inflammation. Deficiencies in omega-3 have been linked to cardiovascular disease, some cancers, mood disorders, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
The biggest appeal of fish oil is that all ages can benefit from taking it. From fetal development to healthy aging, DHA and EPA are important for all stages of life! [v]
Try: NutraSea HP+D Grapefruit Tangerine. It has a delicious flavour, making it easy even for kids to take; it'll help their brain and eyesight develop, and its delicious flavour (with no fishy aftertaste) will mean they won't even know where it come from. Just one teaspoon a day will fill the daily requirements.