Often, people choose to take supplements with the aim of securing a good diet, that way they won’t have to worry much about the food choices they make. But supplements aren’t meant to replace your diet, they’re only meant to supplement it, when needed, with specific nutrients. That’s why following a nutritious and well balanced diet in and of its self is the key to good health, no matter what supplements you choose to take.
So when should you take supplements and why? If some conditions have got you complaining and you want to give your diet an extra oomph to overcome them, then resorting to supplements may be a good option. To make this task a tad simpler, we’ve collected 5 safe supplements that may help boost your overall health in various ways. It’s always good to check with your health practitioner or dietitian if indeed that supplement is right for you.
Beat bloating with Peppermint oil capsules
If you have ongoing abdominal problems – bloating, mild pain, and cramping - then peppermint oil may be the perfect supplement for you. People suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) often have these symptoms without really knowing why. Sometimes, it can be triggered by a stressful day at work, or simply after eating a plate of broccoli. Whatever the reason, when you’re feeling gassy, try popping a capsule of peppermint oil and see if it works for you. Because it’s antispasmodic, peppermint oil can prevent the stomach from cramping and help relieve the pain and discomfort. In a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2008, patients treated with peppermint oil had less persistent symptoms of IBS when compared with those receiving a placebo treatment. The study concluded that peppermint oil can be an effective treatment for IBS. As for side-effects, the only one worth noting is that way it leaves your breath whiffing with mint.
Keep skin from aging with Coenzyme Q10
This compound is a natural antioxidant that makes energy readily available for cells to grow and maintain themselves. As a result, it contributes to protecting your skin from all kinds of damage – aging, cancer, and infection. And again, it’s natural. In fact, Coenzyme Q10 is so natural, our body actually produces it.
So why would you reach out for supplements when your own body can actually make it? What happens is, the natural levels of Coenzyme Q10 begin to drop as we get older, and supplementation may reverse that. A study, published in the journal Biofactors found that applying coenzyme Q10 to the skin helped reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Some other studies have highlighted its possible role in treating breast cancer and skin infection, however more consistent research needs to be done.
Whether you choose to take Q10 as a pill or as a topical cream, no serious side-effects have been found. Check with your healthcare provider if it’s safe for you to use and how it may interact with other medications you’re taking.
Treat seasonal allergies with Quercetin
Do you sneeze, cough, and get itchy watery eyes and a runny nose when seasons change? You may be a victim of seasonal allergies and lucky for you, some natural remedies may do the trick to keep those symptoms at bay. Next time your allergies flare, try taking Quercetin supplements, after getting your doctor’s approval.
How does it help? Quercetin may act like a natural anti-histamine because it helps block the release of histamine, a chemical in the body that causes inflammation and many of the allergy symptoms. Although still under research, the evidence of its effectiveness is promising.
Keep your memory sharp with Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo is one of the most effective supplements when it comes to enhancing your memory. According to some studies, ginkgo works by improving blood flow to the brain and as an antioxidant it protects your brain cells from damage. In other studies, ginkgo was found to modestly boost memory and cognitive speed even in patients suffering from memory problems caused by dementia and Alzheimer’s. And again, other studies have found no benefit. Ginkgo is generally safe for use but always consult your doctor before beginning any supplement.
Ease your common cold with zinc
When it comes to remedying the common cold, Zinc is the next big thing. What about Vitamin C? Not anymore, at least not since it was found to be no more effective than placebo at shortening the duration of the symptoms of the common cold.
The latest research reveals that if you take zinc in the first few days of catching the cold, you may shorten the duration of respiratory infection. The results of a meta-analysis of 17 trials revealed that zinc indeed appeared to reduce the duration of common cold symptoms. However, more research is needed.
In the meantime, if you choose to take Zinc supplements, avoid exceeding the Tolerable Upper Intake Limit of 40mg per day in adults. No matter what form you choose to take it in – supplements, lozenges, or syrup – avoid taking it for long periods of time because too much zinc for too long may induce copper deficiency.