I'm a Dietician, and This Is What's in My Medicine Cabinet
These are the four items she always keeps on hand.
It should come as no surprise to learn that dietitians devote the utmost care to the things they put in their bodies—and that extends beyond what they put on their plates, to supplements and substances as well. That's why we reached out to Lindsay Delk, RD, RDN, also known as "the food and mood dietitian," to find out what's in her medicine cabinet. She says she always keeps four items on hand—read on to find out what they are, and why she considers them a crucial part of her health regimen.
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Delk tells Best Life that she makes sure to take a fish oil supplement with high levels of EPA and DHA. "While it is best to get omega-3 fats from eating plenty of fatty fish, I know I fall short," she explains. "Omega-3 fats can reduce inflammation throughout the body, lower your risk of heart disease, and play a vital role in brain function and mental health."
While there is no official recommendation for how much EPA and DHA people should consume, experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say that "an average consumption of 250 mg per day of EPA and DHA, is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among individuals with and without pre-existing cardiovascular disease."
Delk adds that you should "make sure that at least 50 percent of the oil is EPA and DHA. Most importantly, buy any supplement from a reputable brand with a third-party certification."
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Anxiety and stress relief supplements
Also in her medicine cabinet is an anxiety and stress relief supplement from Nature's Bounty, containing ashwagandha and L-theanine. "Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that helps your body resist the stressors of everyday life. L-theanine is an amino acid that can improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety symptoms," Delk explains.
She notes that it's important to discuss supplements that contain these ingredients with your doctor before taking them. "Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people, but it can cause adverse effects when taken in large doses. If you're thinking of taking ashwagandha, talk to your healthcare provider first to make sure it's right for you and to get their professional medical advice."
Another item Delk always keeps in her medicine cabinet is a vitamin D supplement. "Vitamin D is vital for healthy bones, a healthy immune system, and improved mood. Your body makes vitamin D from getting sun on your skin, and you can get vitamin D from a few foods, but I take a vitamin D supplement because low vitamin D levels are common," she explains. "A blood test to check your vitamin D levels is the best way to determine your needs."
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Delk's fourth and final go-to item is a soil-based probiotic (SBO). "A healthy gut can go a long way toward overall good health. A probiotic supplement can help maintain a healthy gut," she says. "Putting probiotics into your gut helps balance your microbiota so that harmful bacteria don't outnumber the good bacteria and cause symptoms," she tells Best Life.
Delk notes that she specifically opts for soil-based probiotics (hers is the Youtheory spore probiotic) because they can "better tolerate your stomach acid, which helps them make it to the lower GI tract where you want them to be."
However, she does add a word of caution: "Probiotics aren't well regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so make sure you choose a product from a reputable manufacturer that has the good manufacturing practices (GMP) certification," she says. "If you are immunocompromised, SBOs may not be safe for you. Be certain to check with your doctor before taking SBOs to make sure they can't over-colonize in your gut," Delk adds.
Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.