Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:45 am
For many people, the idea of taking health supplements is daunting. There are so many kinds to choose from, and not everyone can afford them. But health supplements can be a great way to boost your health and wellbeing and even help you lose weight.
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In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need any health supplements. Our food would supply us with all the vitamins and minerals we need. But we don’t live in an ideal world, do we? Given the food we eat (which is mostly adulterated) and the amount of stress we have in our daily lives, we need health supplements for optimum functioning. This, of course, is along with the fact that you consume them in the pattern prescribed by a health expert.
The dietary supplement is a broad term that includes pills, liquid syrups, powders and blends comprising a concentrated dosage of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, or antioxidants to supplement the nutritional needs. Remember, these are just add-ons and not the replacement or substitute for any food.
Because of the times we are living in and the lifestyle most of us are leading, supplementing the diet has become a mandate for many. The reasons are many poor diet, environmental pollution, stress, calorie-restrictive diets, scarcity of local or fresh produce, and the need to meet nutritional deficiencies. For someone who spends most of the time indoors with negligible exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D supplement is a must. And it is not surprising that most of the urban working population falls into this category.
Similarly, we all are exposed to tremendous levels of stress and pollution – these two factors deplete the body’s capacity for fighting damage caused by free radicals. Taking health supplements can help improve the body’s ability to fight off common and chronic infections. It is important to understand that your focus should be on consuming a balanced and nourishing diet. There is no shortcut to satisfying your nutrient intake apart from eating healthy. Health supplements come as part of eating healthily.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are no replacement for healthy eating, regular exercise, and a positive attitude. But when you have a baseline diet in place, work out regularly, and are compassionate towards yourself and the world, food supplements will help make them work at their best.
6 Reasons We Need Food Supplements
- Filling That Nutritional Gap – Supplementation should bridge the nutritional gap so that we maintain the proper balance of nutrients from food and supplementation.
- Poor Eating Habits – Erratic eating habits, eating processed junk food, and stress contribute to poor digestion, making it difficult for our bodies to extract all the nutrients it needs from food.
- Nutrient Absorption Declines With Age – Malabsorption becomes a problem because your body doesn’t have the same capability to break down and absorb nutrients as it used to.
- Exercise Increases Nutrient Needs – Athletes require a lot of energy and nutrients to stay in shape. As you exercise, your body uses up the energy and nutrients that have been stored in your body.
- Avoid Harmful chemical – pesticides and herbicides used to farm our food, chemicals found in our water supply.
- Prevent Expensive Health Issues – Doctors are encouraging people to look for disease prevention instead of disease treatment.
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Which dietary health supplements do we need?
The human body needs a variety of nutrients to stay healthy. If you aren’t eating well or are sleeping too much or too little, you are not giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly.
The health supplements we need regularly are vitamins like A, E, B and C, and minerals like selenium, zinc, chromium, and calcium. They should be taken as preventive strategies and on doctors’ recommendations.
But, you must refrain from buying over-the-counter health supplements. Always consult an expert or your doctor before choosing the right health supplements for you because even excess intake of vitamins can be harmful to health. There are certain combinations of health supplements that work better together, like iron supplement with a dose of Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron. So, always rely on an expert and your family doctor before considering any form of dietary supplement.
Potential Health Risks Of Dietary Health Supplements
Health Supplements can help you get the most out of your diet and make up for any dietary deficiencies. Find out which health supplements are necessary for a healthy lifestyle, and which ones to avoid.
Most health supplements are safe to take, but there are exceptions. For example;
- High doses of beta carotene have been linked to a greater risk of lung cancer in smokers.
- Extra calcium and vitamin D may increase the risk of kidney stones.
- High doses of vitamin E may lead to a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
- Vitamin K can interfere with the anti-clotting effects of blood thinners.
- Taking high amounts of vitamin B6 for a year or longer has been associated with nerve damage that can impair body movements (the symptoms often go away after the health supplements are stopped).
For high-risk groups
Health Supplements can play an important role in some high-risk groups. For instance, adults diagnosed with osteoporosis may require extra vitamin D and calcium beyond what they get from their regular diet. Health Supplements also can help people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, conditions that make it difficult to absorb certain nutrients. People with vitamin B12 deficiency almost always need a supplement.
Some research also has found that a formula of vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, zinc, and copper can reduce the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of vision loss among older adults. People who are lactose intolerant and do not get enough vitamin D and calcium because they don’t eat dairy products also could benefit from health supplements.
Older adults take some kind of over-the-counter dietary supplement. But are these products right for everyone? The message here is that health supplements prescribed by a doctor are helpful for people with certain medical issues. Otherwise, it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from food and not a pill.
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