Caroline Shannon-Karasik’s AfterGlo

How to navigate supplements and vitamins

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Some of the top questions I receive at health seminars and when coaching clients are related to supplements – which ones to take, how to take them, the best brands and more. 

So you want the details, huh? Here’s the inside scoop on how to choose the best vitamins for your lifestyle, including the best foods for getting the most out of your supplements.

Pairing vitamins for better results

Whether you’re getting your goods from food or supplements, some nutrients work even better when they’re together. Here’s the scoop on how to make the most of your supplements.

Iron + citrus: A little bit of Vitamin C helps your bod better absorb iron, an essential mineral to keeping your blood cells pumping. Low iron can lead to anemia, so pair your spinach and kale with a glass of lemon-infused water or a few slices of grapefruit for maximum iron potential. One of my favorite ways to get this combo is popping a handful of spinach and a squeeze of lemon juice into my morning fruit smoothie. 

Calcium + Vitamin D: The Big Daddy D is quite the lover when it comes to his crush – calcium. The best part is, because Vitamin D helps you to better absorb calcium, you’ll often find the two paired together in your favorite nondairy beverages and whole grain cereals. Like I said, these two are inseparable, so go ahead and pour yourself a bowl. Try Nature’s Path Qi’a Superfood Cereal (us.naturespath.com/qia) topped with vanilla almond milk and fresh banana slices.

Vitamin C + green tea: Who would have thought it was Vitamin C who knew all the right moves? Hook up your next cup of green tea with a squeeze of lemon and you’ll get more benefits from the tea’s antioxidant mojo.

Vitamin E + fat: Take your daily dose of E with a healthy food that contains fat in order for it to be properly absorbed. Try taking it with lunch when you munch on your avocado-topped salad or at snack time, after you’ve downed a banana with peanut butter. If you take selenium, it’s best to take it with Vitamin E, because the two are best absorbed when taken together.

Getting your nutrients from healthy foods

Curious about what foods pack your favorite vitamins and minerals? Here are the details on some of the most common natural sources of nutrients. 

Calcium: Dairy products are notorious for touting their high calcium content, but you’ll also find it in dark leafy greens, like kale and collard greens.

Vitamin E: This powerful antioxidant is important for immunity and protection against harmful free radicals. Find it in sunflower seeds, wheat germ, tomatoes, turnip greens and almonds.

Vitamin B12: Absolutely necessary for a healthy nervous system (and keeping anemia at bay), this vitamin is found naturally in salmon and tuna and is often added to breakfast cereals.

Vitamin A: Key for vision and immunity, you’ll find it in sweet potatoes, carrots spinach, fish, milk and eggs.

Vitamin C: Citrus is a popular choice for a dose of Vitamin C, but red peppers, broccoli, cantaloupe and kiwi also contain the antioxidant.

Omega-3 fatty acids: There are two kinds of omega-3s. The first is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in nuts, seeds and green vegetables. The other category includes eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is found in fish like tuna and salmon. You need them both, so be sure to squeeze these healthy fats into your regular diet. 

Recommended supplement brands 

There are a lot of fantastic supplements and vitamins, but sometimes those shelves can be overwhelming! A few companies I trust: Garden of Life Vitamins (gardenoflife.com), Jarrow Formulas (jarrow.com) and Dr. Ohhira’s Probitotics and Essential Oils (drohhiraprobiotics.com).

I’m curious: What is your must-have supplement and why? Send me an email and let me know.


Beet-iful Ginger Apple Smoothie with Strawberries

Makes 2 servings

Beets are a superstar when it comes to fortifying blood and boosting our bodies’ iron stores. The root veggie is packed with beta-carotene (a major immune booster) and other vitamins and minerals, including folic acid (necessary for the healthy production of red blood cells) and manganese (essential for building bones).

Ingredients

1 medium beet (including leaves), scrubbed and cut into quarters

1 organic apple, washed and cut into quarters

1 lemon, peeled

1/2- to 1-inch fresh ginger root, peeled

1-1/2 cups unsweetened dairy-free milk (almond, coconut, hemp, etc.)

1 cup frozen strawberries

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

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