You Need These Food Supplements in Your Life Right Now
On this podcast, we discuss the often neglected fourth pillar of health – supplementation.
On this podcast, we discuss the often neglected fourth pillar of health – supplementation.(Illustration: Kamran Akhter/ The Quint)

You Need These Food Supplements in Your Life Right Now

Supplements. Pills. Drugs. Which ones should you have? And how can they help you?

On this podcast, we discuss the often neglected fourth pillar of health – supplementation.

Why should you use supplements? Which supplements should you take? Why can’t you get your nutrients from just eating “healthy,” natural food? We answer all these questions and more on this episode of Vishnu Ki Secret Life.

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Nature: Not So Natural Anymore

Remember that old maxim, “Nature has provided enough for man’s need, not his greed?” Well as it turns out, the nature we live in in this time and age, DOES NOT have enough for our need, let alone our greed.

Years of industrialisation, toxic gases, pollution and environmental destruction, coupled with scientific methods that are used to maximise product output, taste and shelf life have stripped most of our foods and environment of a lot of nutrition.

An apple that was grown today doesn’t have the same nutrition profile, taste or size as an apple that was grown a thousand or even 200 years ago.

Apples were smaller, more nutritionally dense and less sweet, but they WERE more natural in the past. Modern apples are bred for taste, size, sweetness and other factors that make them more marketable.

In a nutshell: The foods we have now, even the natural, “healthy” ones, do contain nutrition, but they’re severely deficient in nutrients as compared to their ancestors.

With all that said, let’s begin with our first supplement. Let’s start with something basic. An essential supplement that you’ve probably heard about, but haven’t included in your diet – Cod Liver Oil.

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Cod Liver Oil

What does cod liver oil do and why are we recommending you include it in your diet? The short answer is – omega-3 fatty acids.

The long answer is a little more complicated.

Cod liver oil or fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies can produce all kinds of fatty acids except for two – Omega 3 and Omega 6. You need to get these from your diet, AKA food or supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the body, they’re anti-inflammatory, they reduce oxidative stress, and generally help keep you in better health.

Omega-6 fatty acids do the opposite. They stress our bodies, increase oxidative stress and lead to inflammation, which eventually can lead to nasty things like arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and a whole bunch of other diseases that we call lifestyle diseases.

You need to maintain the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids, usually in a 1:1 ratio. But, most modern foods and oils are super high in Omega-6 fatty acids. This leads to ratios being less 1:1 and more like 1:30.

To balance this out, you need to supplement with fish oil. Alternatively, you can also eat fatty fish twice a week, but if you can’t, then have the supplements. They’re also a cheaper and easier to get into your diet, unless you have free-flowing access to fish.

Do some quick research online and you’ll find many sources telling you how to figure out how much you should take.

Also Read : Fish Oil Reduces Bleeding Risk in Surgery Patients: Study

L-Theanine

In a nutshell, L-Theanine is an amino acid that’s extracted from green tea. It’s useful for dealing with social anxiety, trouble sleeping, general stress and coffee-related jitters.

L-Theanine plus caffeine is my go-to supplement combination. They work beautifully together, to make you focused and productive, but without the tension and heightened anxiety. In case you want to know more, I’ve done a full-length podcast dedicated to L-Theanine.

L-Theanine also has neuroprotective properties, so that doesn’t hurt either. It isn’t an essential supplement like cod liver oil, but it’s VERY useful and helpful.

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Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen – meaning it makes it easier for your body to handle stress, both physical and mental.

A combination of Ashwagandha and L-Theanine will make even the most stressed out person calm, even-tempered and relaxed. But before you go popping Ashwagandha off-handedly, there are a few side-effects I noticed when took them.

The first side-effect I felt is that I’d feel colder. For some reason, Ashwagandha made me feel much colder than usual. Whether this is because my body’s core temperature dropped, or my sensitivity to cold went up, within 30 minutes of having it, I’d be more susceptible to feeling cold chills.

The second side-effect, is perhaps also a benefit for some people. Ashwagandha boosts your sex drive. When I’d take Ashwagandha regularly, my libido would go through the roof. Which is good for some people, yes, but for me, it becomes a problem.

But this could be another benefit for a lot of people, so if that’s something that floats your boat, go for it!

Also, speak to your doctor if you’re already on any other medication before you take Ashwagandha. Do NOT blindly pop Ashwagandha if you’re on other medication, especially if you take medication that alters your brain chemistry like benzodiazepines.

Also Read : Zinc Oxide Supplements May Prevent Fat Build up in Liver: Study

Vitamin C and Vitamin D

The last supplements we’ll talk about are Vitamin C and Vitamin D. Both vitamins are extremely important for your health. You can get Vitamin D from sunlight and Vitamin C from bell peppers and oranges, but again, getting your daily requirement from these sources alone is tricky.

Without enough vitamin C and D, I’d fall sick a lot more often. Because both these vitamins are essential for improving your immunity. Low energy, muscle cramps, feeling depressed, I was feeling the whole deal.

So, eventually I started to supplement with these vitamins.

If you work out a lot, you’ll also be losing a lot more of these essential minerals and vitamins when you sweat.

Just on a side-note, don’t overdo these vitamin supplements either. Your body can only absorb a limited amount of them.

If you go overboard eating them, you’re not getting any benefits from them, you’re just paying for really expensive pee. Because any extra from these is disposed via peeing.

Also don’t overdo Vitamin C chewable tablets, because that’ll lead to your teeth getting eroded and your gums bleeding. I learned this the hard way, when I was popping vitamin C pills like candy.

Anyway, as far as supplements go, this should be a good place to start. Don’t overdo anything, but also don’t be afraid of supplementation.

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