By Andrea Sharkey. Nutritionist and expert for INTU Wellness.
There is no doubt that we have never been so spoilt for choice when it comes to options for our health and wellness. From thousands of superfood options to supplements that can make our lives a whole lot easier, especially if we have dietary restrictions.
As we head into the next season after the long year we have had, we may be feeling a little fatigued, but we still want to look and feel our best heading into the celebrations. Therefore, here are five ingredients that I love at the moment because where there’s wellness, beauty follows. So, there is no better way to feel your best, than to focus on your health.
Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years, and it is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, which is based on Indian Principles of national healing. Some research shows that it may increase energy, improve concentration and relieve stress. A small study of 58 people who took ashwagandha extract in varying amounts for 8 weeks found that they significantly reduced their perceived stress levels by measuring the stress hormone, cortisol compared to the placebo group.
A further analysis of five studies found that taking Ashwagandha enhanced the participant’s maximum oxygen consumption which improved their physical performance and energy. There is a reason why this ingredient is often referenced, and that is because of the host of benefits that may come with consuming it.
Rhodiola rosea is an ingredient that has long been used to strengthen ones respond to both physical and psychological stressors. It is a herb that is known as an “adaptogen”, because it adapts to its surroundings, and also can adapt to stress when it is consumed. The root is thought to contain more than 140 active ingredients and it is widely used to treat anxiety and fatigue, and therefore improve brain function. Rhodiola is found up in the cold mountains of Asia and Europe, which is partly why it can be effective.
3. Hydrolysed Marine Collagen
Collagen has certainly been popular in beauty, wellness and skincare over recent years. This is because it is the most abundant protein in the human body, however as we age, our collagen production naturally decreases. This leads to fine lines, dryer skin and all of the things that many of us to try avoid as we age.
When looking for ingestible collagen, there is a big difference in both quality and brands being ethical. Looking for Hydrolysed marine collagen is a good place to start. Also, look for brands that are sourcing sustainably. Collagen from a wild fish, such as cod is often going to be better for you than a farmed fish due to the conditions they live in.
4. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is found in Mediterranean countries, who are often thought to be the healthiest countries in the world. It has traditionally been used to improve the health of the liver and gall bladder. Today people use it to assist in digestion and for gut health. Obviously having a healthy gut will help you feel more energised as there is nothing to flatten a mood faster than having an unhappy stomach.
Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral that is a component of four enzymes in the body. It works to help break down protein alcohol and toxins, which is brilliant for detoxing, especially throughout the silly season.
Aside from the more unique ingredients above, the old faithfuls such as turmeric and ginger are also brilliant. You can add them to most meals to add some flavour and more nutrients, you can also supplement them. Turmeric and ginger both have brilliant anti-inflammatory benefits, both are great for the immune system and ginger especially is another good one for digestion.
There are some ingredients that I am finding interesting at the moment. Make sure you consult your healthcare practitioner before adding any new supplementation to your diet.