Can you believe we’re already halfway through the first month of the New Year? While there’s something exciting about a fresh start, there’s no doubt the month of January can also be marked by guilt and pressure. After all, it’s hard enough remembering to use “2018” as the year. (Is anyone else still writing “2016” in the top of their notebooks, or is it just us?)
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of making New Year’s resolutions, struggling to commit to your health-related goals, or feeling like a failure if you’ve skipped a few workouts, we’re here for you. The key to setting and achieving resolutions is keeping things uncomplicated and realistic—there’s no need for 15-step recipes.
When you set small, achievable goals, like taking a supplement, you’ll get a dose of nutrition and positive reinforcement—even though the behavior isn’t monumental. This will keep you motivated to do it the next day...and the next. Below, read about four healthy nutrients you can easily and quickly receive through supplements, plus how they can support your health in 2018.
Improve your digestion with probiotics
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that naturally exist in your body. Getting more of these microorganisms through a dietary supplement can boost digestion, relieve diarrhea, and even prevent urinary tract and other vaginal infections.
Keep in mind that probiotics don’t work alone. Prebiotics are an indigestible fiber that serves as food for probiotics. In other words, probiotics need prebiotics in order to work effectively. While you can get prebiotics through a supplement, too, they are also widely available in foods like oatmeal, bananas, apples, asparagus, bananas, leeks, onions, and garlic.
Next time you head to the kitchen to make breakfast, wash down your new probiotic supplement with a smoothie with apple (or just the apple).
Beat the mid-afternoon slump with B12
If you find yourself regularly pouring a third (or fourth) cup of coffee or grabbing old Halloween candy from your desk drawer around 2pm each day, a vitamin B12 deficiency may be to blame. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, low levels of B12 have been said to cause fatigue.
Instead of relying on caffeine or sugar to boost your energy, experiment with taking a multivitamin with B12 or an individual B12 supplement. The Medical Center’s website reads, “Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is one of eight B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy.” In other words, vitamin B12 plays a key role in the body’s natural energy production.
Vitamin B12 can be especially helpful if you’re pregnant. The American Pregnancy Association says, “During your first and third trimesters, most women feel more tired and run down than usual. Vitamin B-rich foods help boost your natural energy with these nourishing vitamins for your growing baby.”
Find emotional balance with magnesium and B6
It’s normal to find yourself feeling more sad or sensitive during your cycle. To help keep your spirits high and stable, try supplementing your diet with magnesium and vitamin B6. A group of researchers at the Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center in Isfahan, Iran set out to determine the effect of magnesium and vitamin B6 on premenstrual syndrome (PMS), including mood swings, on 150 women.
The researchers write, “The [study] participants were randomly assigned to two intervention groups and one control group. The study was carried out for four months in ten selected health centers in Isfahan. To confirm the PMS diagnosis in patients, they were asked to fill out the PMS daily symptom record form for two months and then, when the diagnosis was confirmed, the participants were randomly assigned to one of the three groups of the study.”
The three groups were either given a magnesium, magnesium and vitamin B6, or placebo supplement. Afterwards, they completed the same daily symptom record. The group who took both magnesium and vitamin B6 reported the greatest decrease in PMS symptoms. These symptoms included crying, dejection, inclination to remain at home, anger, irritability, and anxiety.
You can easily find both magnesium and vitamin B6 in supplement form. Plus, did you know that dark chocolate that’s 70 to 85 percent cacao is high in magnesium? Go ahead, indulge that monthly chocolate craving.
Supplements: A simple solution to resolutions
While The Mayo Clinic recommends that it’s best to intake nutrients through food, let’s be real: Most of us have busy lives that involve eating off kids’ plates or grabbing a sandwich from the lunch cart. As modern women, we don’t always have time to carefully track whether we’re consuming the required amounts of necessary vitamins, minerals, and healthy bacteria each day through food. Because of this, supplements or personalized supplement packages are effective and simple forms of insurance that fill in any gaps our diet may lack.
Starting the New Year off on a strong, healthy note doesn’t have to be complicated. We’re here to support both your well-being and busy, full life, and believe you can have both.