First things first: what does it mean to balance your body? It means helping your body work at its best, down to each and every function.
Natural, whole food provides this help seamlessly well! It has multiple nutrients that take part in chemical reactions needed to perform these functions – everything from building bones to preventing infections.
Naturally then, supplements that are closest to whole food will also help your body balance itself (isolated nutrient pills do not make the cut).
Typically, these supplements, or rather complements, contain organic whole herbs and spices. Whole not extracts. Popular as they are in cuisines across the world, you may already use some of them in your cooking, either fresh or dried versions.
- They make food healthier with their unique plant nutrients.
- They are far safer sources of antioxidants than those isolated from superfoods, like curcumin or beta-carotene, say.
- They can both crank up or dampen the efficiency of enzymes in your body, depending on what your body needs at the moment to stay in balance. For instance, on the one hand, amla or Indian gooseberry can make certain immune cells more active. On the other hand, it also halts chemicals that carry signals for inflammation. (Inflammation is part of your immune response, but left unchecked, it triggers health problems.)
- They may also provide the building blocks for some enzymes and hormones. Take velvet beans. They contain a compound called levodopa, the building block of an important nerve chemical called dopamine that keeps your mood balanced.
- They may contain nutrients that have similar properties as some of your hormones and act as stand-ins. Apigenin in chamomile functions similar to a nerve-calming chemical called GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid). It is what makes chamomile good for sleep.
- They are versatile too. The same herb could help balance more than one function. Take amla. Besides regulating your immunity, amla can help maintain steady energy levels by regulating carbohydrate digestion.
With herbs and spices, as with food, variety is key. But more importantly, you need the right kind. Despite all their goodness, not every herb or spice is suitable for you. While some may benefit from the warmth of black pepper, some may end up with heartburn.
If you are able to incorporate fresh herbs and spices in your diet, nothing better. But if you can’t, get a herb and spice combination in a dried, powdered, or tea form, without any additives or preservatives. Just make sure it’s personalized for your body.