Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Health & Wellness: A Holistic Nutritionist's Guide to Supplements

Happy Holidays! I don't know about you, but this time of year can feel really stressful. Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays, but trying to fit all of the extra holiday stuff in an already packed schedule can really take it's toll on our overall wellness! Stress, sugar from holiday treats, alcohol from holiday parties, not getting quality sleep, the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, and cold weather can all play a part in compromising our immune systems.

As a holistic nutritionist, I don't typically recommend supplements because I believe that we can get all of the nutrients our bodies need and crave from real, whole-food nutrition. Food should be our first source! However, there are a few supplements that I believe can be beneficial to our health, especially during the winter. These are all things that I incorporate into my diet on a regular basis.


Something that we can all benefit from is a good probiotic! Quality probiotics can assist in balancing and protecting our microbiome (hello gut health!). Did you know that about 80% of our immune system lives in our gut??? So a happy, healthy gut is key to fighting off the dreaded colds and flu of the holiday season.

I don't always take a probiotic everyday, because I also eat a lot of probiotic rich foods (homemade coconut yogurt, kefir, kombucha and other fermented foods), but I take them a couple of times a week and/or up the intake to boost my immune system if I start to feel under the weather. My favorite happy-gut sources are Health Aid Kombucha and Renew Life Extra Care Ultimate Flora Probiotic (30 billion live cultures) as well as Renew Life Women's Care Ultimate Flora Probiotic (25 billion live cultures).


Echinacea is a flower, and can reduce the chances of catching a cold. Echinacea comes in capsules, liquid tinctures and as a tea (my favorite!). I love to sip a cup of Traditional Medicinals Echinacea or Echinacea Plus with Elderberry before bed. Echinacea tea is naturally caffeine free, so it makes the perfect warm, comforting beverage to wind down at the end of the day.

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil sounds gross, right? Well it's really not, and the benefits are amazing! Cod liver oil is nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory, and supports immune, cardiovascular, hormonal, reproductive and neurological health! It is an amazing source of essential vitamins including A, D and omega 3's. Obviously this is not a vegan/vegetarian friendly option, but if you don't have dietary restrictions, quality cold liver oil is especially beneficial during the winter when we may not be getting enough sunshine, eating too many inflammatory foods (inflammation is at the root of many diseases!) and dealing with compromised immune systems. 

The only Cod Liver Oil that I have actually enjoyed taking is Carlson's Wild Norwegian Cod Liver Oil. It has a lemon flavor and is not at all fishy! To me, it tastes like lemon flavored coconut oil. Take it with a meal, and not on an empty stomach. 

Digestive Enzymes

If you love indulging, especially during the holidays, then digestive enzymes will be your new best friend. I take digestive enzymes after a large meal to help avoid digestive discomfort and heart burn. Papaya fruit will also help break down your food, but toting around a papaya is just not practical, so I swear by these babies when I am away from home. I prefer the chewable tablets from Country Life, and Trader Joe's carries a cost-effective version of papaya enzymes as well. 


Boiron Homeopathics

I have been a huge fan of Boiron for years and years! This is a brand of natural, homeopathic medicines (meaning it works naturally with your body and there are little to no drug interactions)  that really deliver results. I keep a box of Cold Calm, Ocillocoxinum (for flu), Acidil (for indigestion), Arnicare (for aches and pains) and Sedalia (for anxiety) stocked in the medicine cabinet. You can find these at any Wholefoods, Sprouts and select drugstores in tab or pellet form.

I hope that you find this information helpful! I'd love to hear some of your tips for staying well during the holiday season!


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