Combined, they can help you build muscle and recover faster, hinder fat storage, and reduce inflammation—along with a bevy of other benefits.
Click through to find out how you can look, feel and perform at your best.
Whales, seals, penguins, squid, and a lot of other fish subsist largely on krill, the super-small crustaceans found in oceans throughout the world. But you don’t live under the sea, so you likely don’t derive the direct benefit of consuming the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that krill contains.
EPA and DHA have a number of important body benefits, especially for active women. Both omega-3s are known to support cognition, immune function, and muscle growth and to improve recovery time after a hard training session.
Many women have low levels of EPA and DHA because they are very low in our food supply. Foods with a high ratio of EPA and DHA to other fats include some fatty seafood such as salmon and sardines. And while fish oil supplements also contain these important omega-3s, the type found in krill oil comes in the form of a phospholipid, so it’s fast-absorbing at lower doses. And since most krill live in cooler waters, like the Antarctic, their oil is less contaminated than average fish oils. Bonus: Krill are also one of the most plentiful species on the planet, so eating them won’t have as much impact on the environment.
How much: For best results, take up to 1 gram of a krill oil supplement with any main meal for up to a total of 2 grams per day.
Apple cider vinegar has a number of benefits for your workout and your health. Research has shown that it can help hinder fat storage, promote fat loss, and control insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. Insulin is released when you digest, fastening to muscle tissue and shuttling glucose, creatine, and amino acids to your muscles. A post-workout insulin spike can spur protein synthesis; at other times, the spike can deter your body’s ability to burn fat.
An Arizona State University study found that consuming 20 grams (a little more than 1 tbsp) of apple cider vinegar before a carb-heavy meal can raise your insulin sensitivity by 34% and curb the blood sugar spike after the meal.
Apple cider vinegar may not be the best-tasting thing in your cupboard— its ultra-acidic taste may be one of the most unpleasant—but it can help you build on your hard work in the gym. Look for raw, unfiltered vinegar for maximum effect.
How much: Start with 1 tsp to 1 tbsp, mixed with water or juice. (On its own it can harm your teeth and digestive tract.)
Curcumin is a compound found within the spice turmeric, one of the key ingredients in curry. Research has shown a number of promising benefits of curcumin, including helping to reduce inflammation, lower body fat, regulate blood sugar, and even fight cancer.
Research in the Journal of Nutrition found that mice that were given a high-fat diet plus curcumin supplements had lower body fat and less weight gain than those that ate only the high-fat diet. Although you can get curcumin straight from the spice rack or by slicing the turmeric root into your sauté pan, a supplement can help you get its full benefits.
How much: Look for supplements that provide about 500mg of curcumin per dose.