My inbox is flooded DAILY with questions from women regarding the best supplements for women.
When it comes to supplements, I’m naturally fairly cautious.
I’d rather fuel my body with whole foods and save that extra money (let’s be honest, supplements can be EXPENSIVE). When it comes to the best supplements for women, the first thing you must know is that NOTHING replaces the big rocks:
3. Balanced Metabolic Hormones
But with that said, if you have these first pieces of the puzzle in place and are still looking for some ways to reach the goal of optimal fitness and fat loss, supplements can play a role as a “small rock” in your plan.
Here are the top three best supplements for women:
1. WHEY PROTEIN
With the same low sugar content and less sodium than egg white powder, whey proteins are naturally high in BCAAs that are easy to digest, making them one of the best supplements for women. It immediately supplies the muscles with high quality protein, which directly correlates to an increase in physical performance and enhanced body composition. Keep protein powder on hand and simply stir a scoop into 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk or water for a quick and easy fat loss power snack.
Note on my personal favorite: I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve tried a TON of protein shakes. I think the key is to find a high quality shake that has a TASTE and TEXTURE that you enjoy. Moment of truth: some protein shakes are seriously DISGUSTING! Click here to read about why I switched protein powders. The protein I use currently mix contains whey protein that digests and absorbs rapidly, along with slower digesting casein protein that helps you feel full faster. It’s gluten-free and has the perfect balance of carbohydrates, fats, and high-quality proteins provide sustained energy and appetite satisfaction. It’s great support for lean muscle tissue, fat loss and increasing energy.
For a busy woman, BCAA supplements are key and are another one of the best supplements for women. BCAAs help fight both hunger AND cravings all while promoting fat loss. When lowering your carb intake, BCAAs will become a busy mom’s best friend by not only by lowering your stress hormones, but by controlling hunger and cravings and giving you the energy you need to keep up with your daily life. BCAAs are a staple in the lives of many athletes and active individuals, accounting for nearly 1/3 of the amino acids in muscle protein. They also play key roles in the repair and growth of muscle tissue, so this is one of the best supplements for women, hands down. I like the PEScience BCAAs because they’re the perfect combination of BCAAs to increase lean body mass and even aid with fat loss, and the flavors are to die for! I usually just throw a scoop in my water bottle, shake it up and sip during my workout!
Here are some of the amazing benefits of BCAAs:
- BCAAs lower cortisol: Cortisol is a stress hormone that we as busy moms are all too familiar with. The main functions of cortisol are to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system, and aid in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. When cortisol is released with low levels of HGH (often occurring when we don’t get enough sleep) and/or high levels of insulin, it causes muscle burning and fat storing. BCAAs lower cortisol and thus have an incredible ability to suppress stress induced cravings and blunt hunger.
- BCAAs balance brain chemistry: BCAAs are precursors to our brain’s stimulating chemical glutamate, as well as our brain’s number one relaxing chemical (GABA). What busy mom doesn’t need some extra help relaxing? By balancing these stimulating and relaxing responses in the brain at a chemical level, we can stop cravings before they even start.
- BCAAs control hunger: In addition to balancing blood sugar, the BCAA leucine activates hunger controlling molecules (mTOR and AMPK) in the brain.
3. HEALTHY FATS
Even with the best, most balanced diet, I find that many women (myself included) are lacking in healthy fats. Because of this, some type of healthy/essential fat supplement is #3 on the list for the best supplements for women. Essential fats are those which the body can’t produce on its own—they must be eaten—and it must have them for optimal function.
6 Benefits of Fatty Acids:
- fight inflammation
- lower blood fats (aka triglycerides)
- reduce blood pressure
- increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind)
- lower both LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and blood pressure
- fight depression
BONUS: For all our pregnant mamas, omega 3 fatty acids have been show to prevent preterm birth and support brain and eye development in babies!
There are many ways to get your healthy fats and essential fatty acids, but here are a few ideas:
- Unprocessed oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and avocado oil,
- Raw nuts and seeds, such as fresh organic flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and english walnuts, which are also high in omega-3s
- Meat from animals that are free ranging and/or grass fed, which are higher in beneficial omega-6s, such as natural CLA.
- Egg yolks are rich in beneficial omega-3s.
- Coconut oil, although not an omega-3 or omega-6 fat, is also an extremely beneficial dietary fat that has been shown to improve your heart, metabolism, immune system, skin and thyroid. Coconut oil’s health benefits derive from its special MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids).
THE BENEFITS OF CLA (CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID)
- Supports weight loss
- Promotes healthy metabolism
THE BENEFITS OF VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
- Supports a healthy appetite level
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels already in normal range
THE BENEFITS OF AVOCADO OIL
- Great antioxidant
- Moisturizes hair and skin (promotes collagen skin levels)
In addition to the supplements listed above, other supplements to consider include:
First up, let’s talk about probiotics: If you struggle with bloating or digestive issues (think: constipation, etc) a probiotic is a must and is one of the best supplements for women in addition to the top 3 listed above. Sometimes bloating can be caused by an imbalance of the bacteria in your intestines, especially at times when you’ve been eating more processed, sugar-filled foods. (Note: Probiotics can help restore the bacterial balance, but not all brands have proven that they work: Bifidobacterium infantis is the only probiotic strain that studies show relieves GI symptoms, such as bloating.) Get digestion back on track, and get a flat stomach fast, by taking a probiotic daily.
If you’re not 100% sure that you’re getting all of the micronutrients that your body needs each day, then I highly suggest considering a multivitamin to keep your body, bones, muscles and skin supplied with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to multivitamins, the things I look for are everything a girl needs to keep her body balanced:
- Vitamins and essential minerals
- 100% DV for iron, and other minerals
- B vitamins for energy and metabolism support
- Immune support
- Greens and probiotics enhance immunity. Or take something separately to assist in digestion and absorption, and help keep that feisty gut bacteria in check.
- A multivitamin specially formulated for women with vitamin D and calcium to support breast health and bone health
As I said before, I always recommend a “whole diet” approach to my female fat loss clients. Whether they’re looking to lose 5lbs or 50lbs, it’s always best to make exercise and nutrition the first priority. While many trainers would have you spending $100’s on supplements each month, I prefer to keep it simple.
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