Understanding supplements

The combined onslaughts of processed, nutrient-poor food and lifestyles that can be at one and the same time hyperactive and sedentary, relentless and disorientating, mean that it is no surprise that our bodies sometimes feel the strain.

A healthy body naturally strives to achieve a balance between a rounded diet, a consistent level of regular exercise and a peaceful state of mind. But it doesn’t take much to knock that equilibrium out of kilter. So alongside making positive decisions and choices to stay active, to eat well and to achieve calmer mental wellbeing, nutritional supplements offer a fourth, complementary way to maintain those essential balances.

Even if you take the highest-quality food supplements, that is never an excuse to exist on a diet of fast, convenience or refined foods.

Supplements are a way of providing the body with a range of vitamins (micronutrients that support a huge range of body functions such as growth, energy levels and other processes), minerals like calcium and magnesium, as well as enzymes, in a form that can be taken and ingested easily and conveniently.

Why do we even need to consider nutritional supplements? This is partly because the basic foodstuffs that are available – the meat and dairy products, even the fruit and vegetables – can be lower in nutritional quality than a generation or two ago. The rise of convenient processed food has exacerbated this problem.

However, there is an important point to make: although good supplements will likely support the nutritional balance of someone who takes them, they do not in themselves create wellness. That is why they are supplements, designed to work with your diet, not to act as a replacement. So even if you take the highest-quality food supplements, that is never an excuse to exist on a diet of fast, convenience or refined foods.

Think of them as a support system for core nutrition – especially if your diet is a little uneven – while you continue to explore the pleasurable experience of evolving your own wellbeing.

They can also provide additional nutritional support for specific times in life – during pregnancy, for example – or helping support joint flexibility in later years, for particular goals and for individual organs in the body. You can tailor a bespoke plan of supplementation that works for you.

With the availability of information on the Internet, it is possible to learn more about supplements and how they work. A good starting point is to learn a little about the main micronutrients: the vitamins A-K and the main minerals. By learning more yourself you can gain an understanding of the potential they have, and more insight into what supplements might offer to your own life.

But above all, supplements should be as high in quality as possible  – it really can make a difference.

With the right diet, supported by supplementation, so that our bodies are energised with the fuel they need, a wonderful thing starts to happen. We become even more empowered to make good, healthy choices. Things that once might have seemed like making a sacrifice – eating wholefoods, taking physical activity, making downtime, even work – become real pleasures.

And life becomes enriched. Supplements can add to that more rounder, healthier life.