In an ideal universe, I’d get all of the nutrients my body needs from my totally perfect diet.
My actual universe, of course, is a little more complicated.
The crazy busy pace of modern life means a few things. I’m often eating on the go while doing three other things, and the food that’s readily available isn’t always the most nutrient-dense. Plus, the stress of trying to do it all means nutrients that can make my body more resilient and resistant to inflammation are even more important.
So, sometimes you gotta supplement. I have found that supplements (as well as the healing properties of aromatherapy) have helped me sleep when I’m supposed to, fight off germs, and keep my stamina up when work/travel/life gets intense. Here are are the five supplements that are my partners in crime.
If you’re not hip to how important your gut health is, you must be living under a (microbe-infested) rock. Studies increasingly show that a healthy community of gut bacteria is key to maintaining a strong immune system (AKA not sniffling at your desk) and reducing inflammation in the body, a condition that is at the root of nearly every chronic disease. How much can popping a probiotic help? The science is not yet firmly established, but most doctors recommend it, because… why not?
And the mind-gut connection is real: promising evidence that taking a probiotic may make you a happier, more productive person is beginning to emerge. Recent studies have shown probiotic supplements reversed symptoms of depression in mice and decreased anxiety and improved memory in people. No wonder they call your stomach a “second brain”.
Right now, I’m all about Moon Juice’s probiotic powder (pictured above), which I keep in the fridge and add as a supplement to my morning smoothie. It’s a high quality, and it means one less pill to take in the mornings, which is good news for me (one of those guys always gets stuck in my throat, no matter slow I go).
Omega-3s are essential for heart health, immune system function, reducing inflammation, and protecting your brain. Basically, they’re major health multitaskers, but it can be hard to get enough of them unless you’re eating fish 24-7. Bonus: beauty pros often recommend getting more of these good fats for skin elasticity and glow. Say no more.
Omega 3’s can irritate your stomach (or make you burp) so I appreciate the lemon-flavored coating on these sustainably-sourced fish oil pills from Hum. No dairy, gluten, or GMOs either.
High-quality green powders like Welleco’s Alkalizing Greens is a high quality supplement and a great way to get in a mega-dose of micronutrients—vitamins, minerals, antioxidants—when you need it. It’s like eating a trough of healthy salads by just taking a few sips. And since I travel a lot, I love to throw these tablets by 8 Greens in my bag and mix them into a water bottle at the airport, before confronting the pleasures of air travel. Super powers.
Inflammation. I have it always. My joints feel stiff, and my scalp and feet feel tender. It’s kind of my thing. Wish I had grown up eating Indian food, but I didn’t really hear about/learn about the healing properties of tumeric until the last year or so, and now I dump it into anything I can. In Ayurvedic medicine, tumeric is used to battle everything from indigestion to infections, and even used topically to treat skin issues. I have to say, I don’t love the taste, so it’s great to have it in a powder that I can hide in a smoothie like this one from Wunder Workshop. I’m starting to experiment with golden lattes too— if I get the sweetener right, I really enjoy it.
These buzzy supplements—like ashwagandha and rhodiola—are less studied than most of the others on this list, but many holistic nutritionists and functional medicine doctors recommend them because they believe they counteract the stress and fatigue most busy, modern women struggle with daily. The compounds support adrenal function too, which can normalize body imbalances caused by go, go, going all of the time without a break. I like blends formulated to fight stress and boost energy, like this one.
I don’t take sleeping pills. No matter how sleep deprived I am. I’m just too afraid of their addictive qualities, and I hate that zombie-in-the-morning feeling I get no matter when I take them. But when I’m traveling, sometimes I have to sleep at will, which my body isn’t good at doing on it’s own. So I need a little gentle help to get me to bed. In addition to always packing an eye mask and staying away from technology before I go to bed, I always pack a sleep-inducing tonic or supplement. Right now, I’m all about Moon Juice’s Dream Dust, because I can mix it into some hot water and drink it (it also comes in single-serve packs, which are a breeze to pack). I also really like TravaCor by Neuroscience, which helps me calm down and zen out at the end of a stressful day, and this magnesium oil from Ancient Minerals, which you spray on your body at the end of the day, absorbing into your skin, and helping with fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and stress. Again, love a product that lets me skip another pill.
Has taking a supplement had major effects on your health and productivity? Share with me, in the comments, below!