Do you need to take supplements when exercising?
To be totally honest, no you don’t. Now I realise that statement isn’t going to be particularly popular with the many companies producing these supplements every single day, but no you don’t need to supplement your diet, assuming you eat a healthy balance diet to begin with.The best way to stay fit and healthy as we’ve mentioned in many of our previous blog posts, is by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting a good amount of sleep.
Having said that if you feel your diet is lacking something crucial, perhaps because of dietary choices or needs e.g. being vegan or having a dairy intolerance, then there may be supplements that would be beneficial for you, particularly if you are exercising regularly.
The following 4 supplements (which can naturally come from a healthy diet) are what I call your fundamentals:
If you aren’t getting all the vitamins normally extracted from your diet then multivitamins are a good solution. I’m told we need 13 essential vitamins to function properly – vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K, 7 B complex and B12, deficiency in any one of these vitamins may result in illness or other serious health complications. So if you have to cut certain foods out of your diet, then looking to multivitamins would be beneficial to ensure you’re getting all the vitamins you should, this is particularly important if you are working out on a regular basis.
Fibre is great for keeping the digestive system healthy, as well as contributing to stabilising glucose and cholesterol levels. It’s known to reduce diseases such as bowel cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease, and is although thought to be beneficial in maintaining weight. Good sources of fibre include wholegrain foods, fruits and vegetables, but if you can’t get them from your diet then introducing a fibre supplement is recommended.
3. Omega 3 (Fish Oil).
There are some fats’ that are good for you and Omega 3 is one of them. Omega-3 (since it’s made up of a group of 3) are “essential” fatty acids. They need to be included in your diet since your body can’t manufacture them on its own. They help reduce inflammation, prevent inflammatory diseases like heart disease and arthritis, positively affect behavioural and cognitive functions in the brain, and are necessary during foetal development. If you don’t get much or enough fish in your diet, then taking fish oil supplements is a great way to make sure you’re getting these much needed good fats into your system.
Protein can be found in many different group groups. These include; meat, poultry, fish, dry beans and peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds. They are crucial in the development of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and red blood cells. In terms of exercising protein helps the body release energy and is good for muscle growth – hence why many body builders have protein heavy diets. If you are exercising a lot and trying to build muscle mass and don’t already get enough protein from your diet, then adding a protein supplement may help.
As I mentioned at the beginning, whilst these are some of the better supplements to take if you do feel your diet isn’t as rounded as it should be, you should try to get all the vitamins you need from your diet naturally. The amazing thing is that your body knows what it needs whether you exercise a lot or a little, so listen to it and fuel it accordingly.