As your big day approaches, you're likely doing everything in your power to ensure it goes smoothly. A major part of this preparation has to do with you, the bride-to-be. Ensuring that you look and feel up to this big role is important, as you deserve to soak up every second of what is sure to be one of the most memorable days of your life. One way to do this is to score your daily share of vitamins and minerals in the months leading up to the wedding, especially the ones you may fall deficient in due to lifestyle habits, seasonal impacts, or just plain old stress. Here are the vitamins and supplements experts recommend all brides take ahead of the wedding.
While this might not be the most popular supplement, it's quite beneficial, according to experts. In fact, magnesium is one of the most essential minerals in our body—and is used in over 300 metabolic processes. "Not only are most Americans deficient in magnesium, but stress and lack of sleep can deplete levels of this miracle mineral even further, so it's important to ensure we are getting adequate amounts through both our diet and supplementation," says Jennifer Hanway, a holistic nutritionist. "Great sources of magnesium are dark chocolate (choose 80 percent cacao or more), leafy greens such as spinach and kale, and almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds." When choosing a magnesium supplement, Hanway recommends selecting one with all four chelates of magnesium.
Like magnesium, zinc is involved in hundreds of enzymatic processes in the body. "Zinc is a trace mineral known for its role in wound healing and immunity, including fighting the common cold," explains Kristin Koskinen, a registered dietitian nutritionist. "For brides who are hitting the gym hard in the months leading up to their wedding, adequate zinc will help them bounce back from workouts and prevent cramping." If you're looking to up your intake of zinc through food alone, she recommends eating egg yolks, nuts, beef, turkey, and lamb.
When you're feeling stressed or fatigued (name a bride who isn't!), a selenium supplement can come in handy. "This essential mineral has antioxidant properties, promotes thyroid health, and aids with glutathione generation (a master antioxidant), giving it a double benefit in reducing oxidative stress," says Koskinen. If you're low on this important nutrient, you might notice it in the form of hair loss, brittle nails, fatigue, and irritability. If this is the case for you, Koskinen recommends popping a few Brazil nuts every other day to keep your selenium levels where they need to be.
Though not a vitamin, this natural amino acid is nature's best aid for beautiful skin, healthy nails, and great hair, according to Mary Brooks, M.Ed, owner and creator of Sustainable Nutrition. "Collagen benefits include healing the intestinal lining, reducing joint pain, improving body composition (our lean muscle to body fat ratio), and boosting the health of our hair, skin, and nails," she says. "It is a very easily digestible form of protein, and a morning smoothie of collagen, leafy greens, flaxseed, avocado, and almond milk is my go-to breakfast for both myself and my clients when stressed or in a rush." She recommends opting for grass-fed or a marine-based collagen, and a powder or peptide over a capsule.
Found in whole grains, nuts, seeds, dairy, meats, and a large variety of vegetables and fruits, B vitamins are necessary for skin and hair health, and crucial to immune, heart, brain, and nervous system function, explains Pip Waller, an expert medical herbalist and holistic healer. "Since nutrient deficiencies in B vitamins leads to stress, depression, and mood disorders, it is imperative for brides especially to get their fill."
You know to fill up on this vitamin when you're feeling under the weather, since it has immune-boosting benefits, but you might not have realized that it also helps stimulate collagen and give you a more youthful glow. "After hugging all those relatives and friends, vitamin C will keep you protected against any common colds and aid in improving iron absorption for energy, increasing immunity, and protection from sun damage," says Luiza Petre, MD, a cardiologist and weight loss specialist. "It also helps block free radicals and heal acne so you will have no blemishes in wedding pictures."
Especially for brides planning fall or winter weddings, a vitamin D supplement may help ward off the common "winter blues," or seasonal affective disorder. "If you live north of the 35th parallel and its past October, when the angle of the sun's vitamin D stimulating rays don't reach Earth, consider taking a vitamin D supplement, but check in with your health care provider first," says Koskinen. "Vitamin D sources are limited in nature to wild-caught, cold water fish, light-treated mushrooms, fortified dairy, and fortified orange juice."
Women are prone to being deficient in this mineral, which is essential for skin and hair health, as well as maintaining plenty of oxygen in the blood. "A deficiency in iron leads to exhaustion, so brides need to be well stocked, eating their fair share of dark leafy vegetables, apricots, sunflower seeds, nuts, tofu, molasses, eggs, and dark chocolate," says Waller. "A standard iron supplement, however, can cause constipation, so I advise packing in the iron with green smoothies and plenty of apricots, and if you need a supplement try a natural liquid one rather than iron tablets."