Considering switching to a plant based diet after hearing about the multitude of health benefits, such as improved gut health and better quality sleep? Or maybe you joined the #plantpowered community long ago - and mindful to keep on top of the latest supplements you need to feel 100%? Regardless of column A or B, I’m pleased to share this article with you. And although you know me as a sleep specialist, with a background in nutrition, I love educating and empowering you on all things diet - supplements included.
Firstly…. Why go vegetarian in the first place?
Improved gut health - research in Frontiers of Microbiology pinpoints vegetarians have a richer gut microbiota (good bacteria) - than omnivores. Allowing us to absorb nutrients fully, optimising the intestinal health reduces signs of improper digestion, such as bloating, constipation and fatigue. Further, relevant for anyone experiencing considerable stress, peristalsis, the movement of your food down the digestive tract, is compromised. Benefits of vegetarianism: +1.
Better quality sleep: as published in BMJ Open, a lower fruit and vegetable intake are more likely to experience short sleep. Noting vitamin C and compounds such as carotenoids (allowing us to make vitamin A) - found in carrots, oranges and sweet potato; these micronutrients allow us to stay asleep longer. Similarly, a study by University of Pennsylvania of over 4000 individuals found a lack of alpha-carotene (a type of carotenoid) predicted difficulty falling asleep too. You might be wondering: why?! See, vitamin A is critical to light entering the eyes - which then controls your circadian rhythm. Under exposure to light, our brains are triggered to be alert, as a result of stimulating hormones such as cortisol. In darkness, the brain produces sleepiness hormone melatonin, which leads you to fall asleep.
You’re more likely to be lean. Pinpointed in Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, being vegan and vegetarian equates to a lower BMI. Given that the majority of us are trying to avoid the forthcoming winter weight gain, this is a definite pro.
Ok - so you’re keen to give the plant based diet a shot. What’s the best supplements for you?
- Activated B12. Typically found only in animal products, B12 it critical to energy. Enhancing absorption by your body, only activated B12 can be used by the body - so seeking a supplement which already is in this format is key… because some supplements not activated. To help direct you, I recommend Medlab – see where to purchase here at http://nanocelle.com.au/. This is my supplement of choice because it is delivered via nanoparticles (a spray used on the inside of the cheek) - which avoids barriers of the gut lining, and it has a lovely peppermint flavour too.
- Vitamin D. Get outside for this one - literally. Exposure to 15 minutes of bright sunlight supports the natural production of vitamin D, which is important for mood, immune function and muscle recovery.
- Activated B12. Return to point one. Rather than overwhelm yourself, just get the most important supplements - as above. Keeping a diet rich in organic (if possible) whole foods such as starchy veg, leafy greens, fresh fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds; will largely take care of your other nutrient requirements. And if in doubt, sing out - experts such as myself are here to help you.