3 Foundations for a Great New Year Supplement Plan
New year, new you? This is a time to reflect on the past 12 months, look forward to the future, and make plans for a healthy new year. Many of us will be planning for holidays, new homes, new jobs and more. New year’s resolutions are high on the agenda, for example setting new routines, maximising health by eating well, and plugging any gaps with well-chosen food supplements.
In this blog, I’ll take a look at:
- Setting the foundations for a good nutritional programme in the new year.
- Easy steps you can take for a healthier and happier life.
How important is a post-Christmas detox?
Despite the excitement of the year ahead, it’s common to feel tired and sluggish around the new year. Over the Christmas period, many of us will inflict extra stresses and strains on our bodies, with late nights and overindulgence in food and drink. Giving your body some support overcoming the negative effects of all that partying is a good way to set yourself up for the new year.
A great place to start is by ensuring that your liver, kidneys and bowels are functioning well. However, it’s important to go about this in a safe way. Many “detox” programmes are harsh on the body and can strip the bowel of your all-important good bacteria. In addition, moving toxins away from the liver and kidney without having the exit routes functioning properly will create more problems.
So, instead of a harsh detox, I recommend taking a natural approach.
Natural steps to aid post-Christmas recovery:
- Top up on selenium for the liver. Selenium is involved in the production of a substance called glutathione, which is part of the natural detoxification process. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, so consider adding them to your diet. Intensive farming practices have left soils depleted, and as a result many foods are low in selenium. So, a selenium supplement can be a good option.
- Keep hydrated. The kidneys will appreciate you drinking enough water, but bear in mind that excessive amounts can be dangerous. Try to drink 1.5-2 litres (3-4 pints) of plain water every day, to help the kidneys perform their natural functions.
- Top up on fibre. Consume good amounts of fibre to benefit the bowel. Oats, sweet potatoes and flax seeds are all excellent soluble fibre sources. For those who struggle with bowel function, I always advise against choosing supplements which force the bowel to work, because this is never healthy. Instead, choose a supplement of supportive bacteria and extra magnesium, for a gentler route.
- Limit alcohol, sugars and refined foods in your diet.
- Set the foundations for a good nutritional programme in 2023. This includes 2 litres of water daily, plenty of wholegrains for fibre, protein to aid repair, and vegetables to provide the nutrients your body needs to function. Including these basic food groups, in healthy quantities, in your diet will help to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. In turn, this will help to maintain mood and energy levels.
Following a sensible, healthy eating regime will help you feel happier and healthier in the new year. In addition, and to ensure optimal nutrition, consider adding vitamins and supplements into your routine to cover all bases.
What vitamins should I take daily?
When deciding what supplements to take, you should consider your specific health goals. However, there are some foundations which are important for everyone.
The nutrition essentials outlined below are a great starting point for a good supplement regime, to help you have a healthy new year.
3 Supplements to include in your 2023 routine
1. A Daily Multivitamin
Choosing a good, broad-spectrum multivitamin and mineral supplement can really help you kick start your healthy new year routine. So, look for a supplement which includes:
- Good, high levels of B vitamins. These will help to release the energy from your food and support the nervous system.
- Vitamin D to support a healthy immune response and strong bones and teeth.
- Good levels of selenium, for glutathione production.
- Zinc, again to support the immune system.
- Chromium to balance the blood sugars.
- Iron for healthy blood cells and to reduce tiredness.
I’m often asked, “what do multivitamins do?”, why are they important? The answer is, they bridge the gaps in our diet. It is difficult to get all these nutrients in adequate amounts from your diet. Moreover, studies show that not a single person achieves an optimal intake of all their required nutrients from food alone. Taking a daily multivitamin is a great way to ensure you get all the nutrients you need in the proper amounts, and in addition gives you peace of mind that your body has the tools it needs.
2. A Complete EFA
What are EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids)? Essential Fatty Acids are often called the essential missing nutrients. As the name suggests, they are essential for life and play an important role in brain, skin, heart and eye health. Fatty acids are considered ‘essential’ if the body can’t produce them, meaning they need to be consumed via the diet or supplements. Two fatty acids are considered essential for humans, these are omega-3 and omega-6.
Oily fish is the best food source of omega-3, however consumption has declined by 80% over the last century. In addition, omega-3 and omega-6 oils are often removed from foods, because these delicate fats go off easily and so reduce shelf life. Other sources, cooking oils or margarines, are either chemically altered or destroyed when heated.
All of this means that, on the whole, getting enough omega oils from food is no easy task. Hence, if you think your diet is falling short, food supplements are an ideal way to top up. Look for one that provides omegas 3, 6 and 9 for optimal benefits.
3. Supportive Bacteria
Many people use a good bacteria supplement, often referred to as a “probiotic”, to support the health of their gut and microbiome. More evidence has been uncovered in recent years to support this approach.
Using a supplement to increase the level of good bacteria in your gut could have many positive benefits. However, there are over 100 trillion bacteria inside us, so if you want to make a difference you need a supplement with a high bacterial count per capsule. Look for a minimum of 10 billion live bacteria per capsule (although up to 100 billion daily could be appropriate in some circumstances).
A multivitamin, complete EFA and probiotic are great foundations for a solid supplement regime in the new year. Why not explore Natures Aid Everyday Essentials bundle?
Building on the foundations
Once these foundations are in place, you can build on this regime with some more targeted nutrients. For example, you may top up on immune-supportive nutrients during cold and flu season, or select speciality formulas to support the bones or joints.
For example, some of my favourite additions to a daily routine are:
Magnesium has a huge number of functions in the body. It supports:
- Energy production
- A reduction of tiredness and fatigue
- A healthy nervous system
- Psychological function
- Bones and teeth
… and many more!
Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is incredibly common and can result in a long list of symptoms. These include fatigue, mental confusion, irritability, weakness, heart disturbances, poor nerve and muscle function, plus muscle cramps, insomnia, loss of appetite and a tendency to stress related symptoms.
If you think you may be short in magnesium, the first step is to address your diet. Green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, meat and fish are all great sources of Magnesium.
If you are concerned about your magnesium levels, consider a magnesium supplement in addition to your daily multivitamin and mineral. (This is because, even if your multi-nutrient contains magnesium, it is unlikely to include the full recommended daily amount of 375mg. This is impossible to fit into a single tablet with lots of other nutrients!)
Look for a magnesium capsule made from magnesium citrate. Organic magnesium compounds, like magnesium citrate, are better absorbed, utilised and tolerated than inorganic forms (such as oxides and chlorides).
Most daily multivitamin and minerals will include vitamin D. However, at certain times of year it is sensible to include an extra top up in your regime. What’s more, Public Health England (PHE) suggests that all age groups supplement with additional vitamin D during autumn and winter. This is because vitamin D is so important. It supports a healthy immune system and has in fact been shown to decrease the risk of developing severe respiratory tract infections.
Tim Gaunt BSc (Hons) CBiol MSB D.N. gained his degree in Biochemistry from the University of Lancaster in 1988. Tim has over 30 years’ experience in the field of nutrition and holds the position of chartered biologist, granted by the Institute of Biology.