I don’t know whether it’s because I just have less time now to remember to take them or because half my fridge is being occupied by baby puree, but I just did a thorough cleanse of the supplement section of my refridgerator and only one’s left standing – the fish oil – old habits die hard (not to mention old recollections of how much the stuff cost). But to be honest, I don’t think I’m going to replenish the bottle once it’s done (which at the current rate of consumption will be next year).
I’ve been reading more and more, (see one article here,) about the questionable benefits of supplements and increasingly I’m starting to side with the skeptics. It seems that the body knows how to make good use of a slow drip of Omega 3 fatty acids when they’re embedded in the salmon, but doesn’t necessarily recognize the nutrient (or know how to process it) when it’s stripped of its host, shoved into a capsule and consumed in large quantities. Much of the supplement (studies are showing) passes right through, leaving you not with a healthier body, just healthier urine.
I even chose to go against the prevailing custom of taking mega doses of supplements when pregnant and opted to take only folic acid at the early stage and that was it. I had an extremely balanced diet with all nutrients covered, and gave birth to a 9 pound baby at 42 weeks, healthy as an ox.
Not only have there been questions raised as to the effectiveness of supplements, but one study, here, conducted several years ago, showed that for those with irregular heart beats, taking a fish oil capsule actually contributed to greater irregularity. Hardly the heart-health-helper you thought it was.
In addition to fish oil, another supplement that has gained popularity and is being tucked into everything from orange juice to chocolate, is probiotics. They are exceptionally expensive when you buy the “live” ones, and again there is no evidence that the supplement itself is effective. I do however, consume a pretty healthy level of the foods that are known to contain probiotics in their natural state (see below), and anytime I find my digestive system a little “off” I load up even more.
So in the spirit of out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new, rather than swallowing the supplements here’s what I’ll be eating …
- Instead of Fish oil: Salmon, sole, ground flax seeds
- Instead of Probiotics: Yogurt, kombucha, pickled/fermented foods
- Instead of Vitamin C: Red peppers, broccoli,oranges, papaya
- Instead of Calcium: Sesame seeds, yogurt, kale
- Instead of Vitamin D: Salmon, eggs, mushrooms
What about you?
(As an aside, I am in no way suggesting that if you’re taking supplements and they’re working for you, that you should stop. If they’re working for you keep taking them! )
Oh and the winner of the 5 pack of free-product coupons for the Erewhon cereal?
Emily A. — Congrats!
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