There are so many different supplements on the market these days that it can be overwhelming when you look at the choice available on a pharmacy shelf! Packaged superfoods- plant based foods rich in nutrients which can be added to meals of smoothies- are certainly taking customers by storm.
But before you head to the store, consider these points first:
- Can you tweak your diet first? Eating a variety of fruit and veg that’s in season, together with grains, pulses and legumes as part of a balanced diet (protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fats) should be the starting point. Incorporating spices into cooking can boost the health benefits of a meal. For instance the piperine in black pepper can make some nutrients more bioavailable (better available for absorption by the body) and adding lemon juice to greens makes plant-based iron more absorbable.
- What are you trying to achieve with superfoods? Match the superfood to you objective. For protein, try Quinoa – a seed that’s often mistaken for a grain. It’s a source of complete protein, is gluten free and tastes great in salads. If you’re looking for added fibre use chia seeds. For weight loss as part of an exercise plan use coconut oil - the fatty acids in coconut oil help convert body fat into energy and boost metabolism. If it’s more energy you need you might like to try Maca powder. Green powders are good for a nutrient boost and if you’re looking for more antioxidants try a red powder. Many pharmacies have Naturopaths working on site who can help you identify the appropriate ingredients for your health objectives.
- Price per serve: Working out the cost per serve and how much you’re comfortable spending each month on products is an important factor to consider and also in determining whether it’s sustainable. You might even have to think about whether family members or your partner will want to take some as well!
- Quality: Getting into the habit of looking at product labels is important. Looking over the ingredients to see if there are any added sugars for example. For some people the country of origin of the ingredients might be an important factor in their product choice or whether the ingredients are Non-GMO (not from genetically modified organisms) are dairy free, vegan or gluten free. The claims on some packs can be misleading about their organic status. Some logos have a lot more value, for instance the Australian Certified Organic (ACO) certification.
- Flavour: The flavour is important and will impact whether you continue to take the product. Some products are flavoured with natural sweeteners, others are not, which makes them less palatable. Some may have added sugars, which isn’t ideal and it’s best to stay away from all added sugars and artificial sweeteners. Look for products sweetened with natural ingredients like stevia, vanilla or coconut. Or add the powder/product to a fruit smoothie, to avoid the need for sweetener altogether.
Yours in natural health,
Always consult your healthcare professional before commencing a new dietary or exercise regime, before using any supplements and before making any changes to prescribed medications.