Health news is full of recommendations about what kinds of foods you should eat and in what quantities. Multiple popular diets have their own recommendations for the foods you should choose and those you should avoid: Eat no carbs, eat no meat, eat only raw produce – the list is endless. However, most diet experts today advise eating whole foods that have undergone minimal processing or none at all, which is a great general principle to live by no matter what diet you follow. But even the healthiest of diets can be deficient in some nutrients, some of which you may have never heard of. Raising your intake levels of these nutrients is one way you can support your overall health.
Antibiotics are a familiar class of drugs, but probiotics are much less familiar on the health scene. What they are, however, is named correctly. Instead of “anti”-biotic agents, which kill germs and help the body fight off infection, “pro”-biotics support organisms that naturally exist in the body and support overall health. This primarily includes bacteria that live in the digestive system and help to break down and digest our food.
Researchers have been studying the links between digestive disorders and the balance of these helpful bacteria. It is believed that when the balance of good bacteria in the digestive system is thrown off, some kinds of illness or digestive upsets can result. Some infections can throw off the balance of good bacteria, and taking antibiotics can also disturb the balance.
Probiotic cultures naturally exist in foods such as yogurt and some cheeses. The live bacterial cultures in these foods can help to restore healthy bacterial levels in the digestive system. Probiotic powders and supplements are another way to help the body rebalance and replenish its good bacteria levels.
This nutrient is starting to get a lot of press; some doctors are even calling it “the nutrient of the century.” Its name comes from the word “ubiquitous” because it is truly ubiquitous inside the body, existing inside every single cell. Ubiquinol is required for the creation of energy inside cells. It is so important to this process that 95 percent of the energy created by cells in your body involves Ubiquinol. It is also an antioxidant that helps to protect cells against free radical damage. (Free radicals are unbalanced molecules that lack electrons, so they go around stealing electrons, which can cause damage to healthy cells.) Ubiquinol especially works to clear up free radicals created by the energy-production process inside a cell's mitochondria. If the mitochondria is considered to be a cell’s engine, providing it with energy, then Ubiquinol helps to clean up the engine’s “exhaust,” i.e., the byproducts of the energy creation process that can be damaging if not disposed of properly. Ubiquinol is especially important to support heart health. The energy-hungry heart contains high levels of Ubiquinol, and studies have shown that Ubiquinol is beneficial to the entire cardiovascular system.
Ubiquinol appears naturally in foods such as steak, chicken, oily fishes, peanuts, and avocados. Unfortunately, only small amounts of it are contained in any food product, making it impossible to ingest enough Ubiquinol through diet alone. Taking a daily supplement of 100 mg and 300 mg per day will help you to maintain good levels of this critical nutrient.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Too often, dietary recommendations about fat are badly summarized into “fat is bad for you, eat less of it.” But the thinking on this has been changing in recent years. While it is true that many people eat far too much fat in their diets, there is more to the story, as some fats are absolutely necessary to good health. There are also multiple types of fats, and some of them play very important roles inside the body.
Omega-3 is one of these beneficial fats. It is considered to be an essential fatty acid and plays numerous roles in supporting good health. Studies have shown that omega-3 can help reduce levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream, can reduce the severity of arthritis symptoms, reduces inflammation in the body, and is important for prenatal health. There is also preliminary research data that suggests omega-3 fatty acids may help alleviate symptoms of ADHD in children, protect against the development of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, and relieve depression, although more research is needed in all of these areas.
The best way to get more omega-3 into your diet is to eat it in foods such as fish, including tuna, trout, sardines, salmon, and herring. Care needs to be taken in choosing the types of fish you eat because some species are much more likely to contain toxins such as mercury and PCBs. Mackerel, wild swordfish, and tilefish are some of the species that should only be consumed in limited amounts to reduce any potential exposure to toxins. Plant sources of omega-3 include walnuts, olive oil, soybean oil, and flaxseed oil. A fish oil supplement is another way to get more omega-3.
Eating a good balance of whole foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables with whole grains, lean meats, fish, and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt help build a nutrient-rich diet that will give your body everything it needs to be healthy. However, sometimes supplements are needed – such as with Ubiquinol – in order to provide you with key nutrients that you cannot get through diet alone.