Currently, the human race is in a pretty bad way, particularly when it comes to our overall health and well-being. For the first time ever, life expectancies are actually decreasing instead of increasing, people are relying more and more on medication to treat various weight and diet-related health conditions, and obesity levels are sky high. The main reasons for this are also as clear as day, and are largely down to the fact that we’re leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles, we aren’t getting enough exercise, we aren’t eating enough nutrients, and we’re consuming far too much processed junk food. Now, we all know how unstable the economy is and how, although things are heaps better than they were eight years ago or so, the cost of living is still far too high and incomes, sadly, are not. The cost of living seems to increase every year, yet wages and incomes seem stuck in the past, or worse yet, they actually reduce and decrease. One of the main reasons why so many people are classed as overweight and unhealthy, is simply down to the fact that unhealthy processed food, is much cheaper than fresh, healthy, and natural food.
When it comes to health and well-being however, we can’t underestimate the importance of adequate supplementation either. Supplements have been a staple part of everyday life for many years, yet nowadays, finding the right supplement can be tricky, not only due to the fact that there are so many different ones to choose from, but also due to the fact that they can be so expensive. We use supplements to boost our health, to assist us with exercise, to enhance our physiques, to assist with medical conditions, and much more besides and the good news is that, with a little research, you can easily find the supplements you’re looking for, without having to spend a fortune in the process. Whether you want to build muscle, burn fat, or simply boost your health and well-being, here’s a look at 7 supplement must-haves on a budget.
Multi-vitamins are absolutely fantastic supplements that should be a staple part of everybody’s diet, whether they consider themselves fit and active or not. Multi-vitamins, as the name implies, are made up of a combination of essential vitamins required by the body, rolling them all into one, handy to swallow, tablet. You will find vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin A, D, E, K and more, all in the same supplement. Many of us are actually deficient in these vitamins, so making sure we get enough on a daily basis is absolutely crucial. Not only do these vitamins help to boost our health, particularly when it comes to the immune system, but they also assist in other ways as well. For example, not only is vitamin D beneficial for the body by itself, it also helps to body to absorb and process calcium from foods and supplements that we consume. Calcium strengthens teeth and bones, and it also plays a key role in fat loss as well, helping to bind to fat within the GI tract, as well as helping to draw fat out of our fat cells and allow the body to use it as energy. Combine all of these vitamins together, and you benefit collectively from every single advantage that they can offer.
For people looking to bulk up and build muscle, whey protein is absolutely essential. Whey protein is the most popular sports supplement in the entire world, generating billions upon billions in profit every single year. Protein is a vital macronutrient which plays a key role in muscle growth and repair as well as the overall function of our cells. This is why bodybuilders follow such high protein diets as, without the protein, their muscles simply would not grow. In order for you to build muscle, experts recommend consuming around 1.5 – 2g of protein per pound of bodyweight, which would obviously equal a lot of food. Whey protein supplements however, are ideal as they allow you to easily consume vast quantities of protein, along with plenty of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals as well. What’s more, due to the fact that whey protein is so popular, there are many different varieties available and as each supplement company is competing with one another, you can often find great deals and savings being offered. Like most other things as well, whey protein is cheaper in bulk which means the more you buy in one go, the more you will save.
Again, for anybody with an interest in sports and fitness, creatine is another supplement that simply must be included in any supplement stack. Creatine can not only help promote increases in lean muscle mass and strength, it can also increase energy levels and stamina in the process. Creatine is a natural amino acid that is found commonly in red meat, as well as our own bodies, and although we can synthesize it naturally, sadly, the amounts we can produce are not substantial enough to be of any real benefit to us athletically. When you purchase creatine powder however, you can easily saturate your muscles with this compound, and, it also works out much cheaper than purchasing copious amounts of red meat. There are some people who swear by a creatine “loading phase” in which you consume around 20g of creatine for 5 days to saturate the muscles with the substance. However, many experts believe this to be unnecessary and if you are on a budget, you’ll want your creatine to last longer, so simply stick with 5 grams per day instead.
People often think of BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) as being overpriced and expensive, when in reality, they’re the exact opposite, making them ideal supplements for anybody who happens to be on a budget. BCAAs play vital roles in muscle growth and repair as they make up close to one third of your entire skeletal muscle protein. Because of this, BCAAs greatly stimulate and enhance protein synthesis, helping the body to synthesize new muscle proteins, and they play key roles in post-workout recovery as well. BCAAs consist of three amino acids – Leucine, valine, and isoleucine, all of which provide a number of benefits to the human body, particularly in regards to building muscle and burning fat. When they’re consumed directly before working out, studies have found that BCAAs can greatly reduce post-workout soreness and can increase recovery rates. When taken intra-workout, they keep protein breakdown at bay and help to hang onto muscle glycogen which then leads to increases in energy, all of which makes BCAAs incredibly beneficial. Typically, your price per serving will be around $0.50 – $1, although there are great deals to be had.
Fish oil supplements are, without question, some of the healthiest and most beneficial supplements in the entire world, as they are packed full of healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids. Our bodies can’t synthesize omega 3 fatty acids, which is why they’re known as essential fatty acids and it is why we need them from dietary sources instead. Fish oil, not surprisingly, is derived from oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, as well as from parts of other fishes such as the liver – hence cods liver oil. These healthy fats reduce LDL cholesterol, they lower blood triglycerides, they boost the metabolism, they improve organ health and function, and they boost brain health and function as well. Obviously consuming large quantities of fish each week would be expensive, and even then, you still wouldn’t consume enough healthy fats to benefit, making fish oil supplements ideal as they’re very affordable and readily available.
Inside our guts and digestive systems, live billions upon billions of bacteria, some healthy, and some not so healthy. The healthy bacteria in your gut can influence your health greatly and can help provide a number of health benefits. Some of the main benefits associated with these healthy bacteria include: Healthy digestion, an improved immune system, and increased nutrient absorption as well. Probiotics are basically a form of nutrition and sustenance for the healthy bacteria living in your gut – helping to nourish them and replenish them. Probiotic supplements are very affordable, they last a long time, they’re easy to consume, and more often than not, they tend to taste great in the process.
Over the last few years, beta alanine supplements have really generated a great deal of interest, for all of the right reasons. When it comes to intense physical exercise, beta alanine is ideal. Our muscle cells actually use beta alanine to create what is known as ‘carnosine’ which is a buffering agent found within skeletal muscles. One way in which it can prove beneficial is that it can buffer lactic acid, which is a by-product of aerobic exercise, that causes muscle cramps and fatigue. The less lactic acid that is produced, the harder and longer the muscles can work. Beta alanine supplements are very affordable and last a long time, making them ideal for those of you on a budget who happen to be looking for a long-term supplement.