WhatSupp? Supplements in midlife – do we need them?
What Supp? Supplements in midlife – do we need them?
Out and about in shops (whoop!) this week, I was perusing the aisles of a well-known health food shop like a kid in a candy store.
It got me thinking, as I swiped yet another pot into my basket – do I really need all this?
Midlife is the new marketing playground and we are being sold to like never before. Expensive and beautiful looking shiny designer supplements are everywhere “buy me” they twinkle … but what do we really need in midlife?
I spoke to Emma Bardwell, a nutritionist specialising in midlife diet who believes in the power of smart nutrition to help her clients feel on top of their game. Her mantra is “food first” she says: “our gut bugs need diversity: fibre, colour and lots of different plant types each week in our diet is key”.
Did you know that broccoli is thought to contain around 100 different plant chemicals that all have different, positive effects on the body? Me neither! You can find more great tips and useful info on her Instagram channel @emma.bardwell
In our 40s and 50’s, what supplements should we be looking at?
Omega 3 oils – with us all living increasingly busy lives in midlife, there is definitely a place for good quality supplements.
However, there is no replacement for a bad diet. Emma advises a good quality Omega 3 as we age – essential for heart and brain health (and fog!), skin, eyes and mood. You find this in oily fish like salmon and mackerel but if that isn’t for you, then a supplement is a good insurance policy*.
Vitamin D3 – non-negotiable for everyone – kids and adults. Public Health England recommends 10mcg throughout the winter months (October-March) but get your levels checked with your GP so you know exactly whether you need it or not.
You can also get an at-home skin prick test from THRIVA to check your own Vitamin D levels.
B Vitamins – complete game-changers for energy and play an important role in hormone synthesis too so a good B complex (to include all 8 B vitamins) is perfect in midlife.
Magnesium – if you suffer from sleep issues, migraines, muscle aches or restless legs (all common in perimenopause), Emma recommends 300mg magnesium glycinate taken before bed or a magnesium salt bath (2 big cups dissolved in warm water and soak for 20 minutes) which can really help with relaxation.
Choosing quality supplements is key
Melanie Lawson, Founder and CEO of Bare Biology, decided to create her own supplement brand when she couldn’t find the quality supplements she wanted.
Her unwavering belief in the benefits of omega-3 began as an exhausted and postnatally depressed mother with young children. It was a real life-saver for her and she’s been obsessed ever since.
Melanie went to great lengths to find the very best fish oil producer – but find it she did – in a small fishing town in Norway, where she still gets her oil from for her products today. She says: “Unfortunately the supplement industry isn’t regulated and sadly there are brands making false claims and selling supplements that have no guarantees of purity”.
A foolproof way to know if your fish oil supplement is safe is to look out for the International Fish Oil Standards Programme (IFOS) logo on the packaging.
Don’t be fooled by ‘high-strength’ claims – always read the small print. I recommend Life and Soul omega-3 liquid *- (Use code EMMAB10 for 10% off of any products).
Midlife diet Tips
Our digestive systems change as we age and as oestrogen levels decline, our gut often slows down.
Emma advises adding a couple of daily portions of fermented foods into our diet instead of buying expensive probiotic drinks – look at kefir, sauerkraut, miso or pickles and avoid anything too sugary as that doesn’t help gut health as we age. I have just signed up for a homemade fermented food masterclass – so stay tuned!
We all need to take more time over our meals, so make time to sit down and chew well, it will really help with bloating, gas, reflux and overall digestion.
Banish the brain fog with dark coloured (purple, blue, black) fruits and veg like blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage, beetroot. Green leafy veg has also been shown to have amazing brain benefits.
Drink water! Even a 1% drop can affect concentration levels and can make you feel foggy.
You will hate me for this, but try and reduce your alcohol intake “we simply seem to metabolise it less effectively as we age” says Emma (weeps!). It can cause anxiety, weight gain around the midline, migraines and bloating.
By making small changes, you will see results and if it goes a long way to making you feel and look better, then I definitely think it is worth it!
*Not recommended if you’re taking blood thinners.
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