1. Omega 3s/Fish oil – you’ve read the benefits of fish oil a million times before. If you’re not taking omega 3s, start now. A bad ratio of omega 3 to 6 is actually pro flammatory, so all those nuts and seeds you are packing could be contributing. Increase your daily omega 3s with a good quality fish oil. Take it in the morning for good brain function. Even eating oily fish regularly will not nearly match the intake of a daily fish oil capsule (though you should definitely eat fish too!)
2. Probiotic – improve and maintain the health of your gut for better digestion, immune function and energy. A sluggish, ineffective digestive system will make you lazy, moody and more likely to overeat! Once upon a time, we got good living organisms from eating dirt. It’s true, the food we ate, straight from the ground, would populate our gut with healthy bacteria. These days, the food we eat is mainly void of this good bacteria, so a probiotic is recommended.
3. Multivitamin – even if you eat the most amazing, colourful heap of vegetables five times a day, you still might not be getting all the micronutrients and vitamins you need. A good quality Multivitamin will fail-proof your micronutrient intake.
4. Magnesium and zinc – improves sleep, brain function, physical performance, insulin sensitivity, lowers cortisol (stress hormone) which lowers risk of heart disease and stress-related weight gain. I’ve lumped mag and zinc together because there are some supps that combine these in the one pill (I like ZMA by Optimum Nutrition)
5. Vitamin D – In America, 70 percent of white people and 93 percent of black people are deficient in vitamin D! Vit D deficiency is associated with weight gain, higher risk of diabetes, and many other serious health complications. Even Aussies need to think about supplementing with vitamin D, as many peeps work all day inside and wear sunglasses outside. Ask your doc to get your vit D levels tested.
There’s one more super supp I’d like to mention – BCAAs. This one is for the peeps doing weight training (and if you’re not doing weight training, you need to start!). It helps muscle growth and strength gains, prevents DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness from workouts) improves brain function and mood, and helps maintain testosterone and cortisol levels. I use BCAAs pre, post and during weight training. I am able to train harder, as my muscle soreness is dramatically decreased and recovery is quicker. Read this article if you need more convincing:http://www.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/654/The_Benefits_of_BCAAs_10_Quick_Tips_and_Detailed_R.aspx
Many people ask about protein powder – I recommend it for people who train as it’s convenient but it’s not absolutely essential. I use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey and I’ve been recommending it to my clients for years. It has digestive enzymes, BCAAs, and a high protein to energy ratio. I love it. I have one a day after my weights session but your dosage and timing depends on your training goals.
Don’t forget, your nutritional needs should be met through diet: handfuls of vegetables each day, clean protein at every meal and lots of water (anyone who still claims to have a decent excuse to eat processed crap, come at me bro!) Supplements should be used to make yourself that little bit more… Superhero.