Supplements 101

Supplements 101

Get lost in the supplement aisle at the health food store? Here’s a guide to which supplements your body needs the most.

By Brenda Watson

More than 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, which is why maintaining healthy digestion is essential to looking and feeling your best every day. Daily supplementation with my “H.O.P.E.” formula – or High fiber, Omega oils, Probiotics and Enzymes – can help establish a foundation for optimum digestive health.

Studies have shown that a diet high in fiber provides countless health benefits, one of which is improved digestive function. Fiber provides the necessary bulk to keep food moving through the intestines, absorbing harmful toxins along the way and helping eliminate them via regular bowel movements. Fiber has also been shown to support healthy weight management and help prevent many of today’s most prevalent diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

Increasing your intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs) (such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats) can help lubricate the colon to promote bowel regularity. In addition to improving digestive function, these beneficial oils promote overall health by nourishing the body tissues and supporting immune function. Omega-9 fats are also important, as they help reduce harmful inflammation in the body.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that reside in the intestines. Studies have shown that probiotics help maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the digestive tract by crowding out harmful bacteria that may otherwise lead to impaired digestion and poor health. Ideally, there should be a ratio of approximately 80 percent good/neutral bacteria to about 20 percent bad bacteria in the digestive tract.

Finally, digestive enzymes are needed to help break down the food we eat into nutrients that our bodies can use for energy. Although the best sources of enzymes are fresh fruits and vegetables, many Americans do not consume enough of these foods on a daily basis. When choosing an enzyme supplement, keep in mind that plant enzymes tend to be effective over a broader range of pH levels in the digestive system and may provide a greater benefit.

Brenda Watson is the bestselling author of The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps and founder of RenewLife.

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