It is universally agreed that a balanced diet is the best way to meet nutritional requirements. All the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at an optimal level can be found from natural sources. This cannot be disputed. The subject of nutritional supplements, however, brings more polarising views. For those with deficiencies, they are absolutely required to give their body the boost it needs. Others see them simply as a marketing gimmick, cashing in on the health conscious generation.
With so many contrasting views to wade through, it can be difficult to understand the possible benefits. Just what is the truth about supplementing? Well, for starters, let's make a few things abundantly clear. Supplements are NOT to be used as a substitute for clean eating. Their makeup is simply not designed to replicate the micronutrients and essential dietary fibre of whole foods. But when consumed alongside a well-planned diet, there are health benefits to be found in supplements.
So, who are the kind of people that may find the most benefit from supplements?
- Vegans, for example, may lack Vitamin B12 as this can not found from plant-based sources.
- Pregnant women are advised to take folic acid and iron supplements as a means of increasing their daily intake.
- Those with eating disorders or a lack of appetite may need to supplement their nutrient intake to remain healthy.
- People whose bodies struggle to break down or absorb nutrients in food.
- Bodybuilders and gym goers may need protein supplements for muscle growth and repair.
You should always seek medical advice if any of these issues affect you. Consult a dietician about how supplements may be helpful in maintaining good health. Speak to your doctor about introducing them into your regular diet.
So, you've decided that you'd like to give them a try. What next? Most reputable supermarkets and health stores stock a wide range in powder, liquid and tablet form. You can even find supplements online very easily. Remember always to read the label carefully. You want to look for products specifically designed to provide all the essential nutrients your body needs. The best supplements generally supply an even amount of your recommended daily allowance for all vitamins.
Some supplements contain many different kinds of multivitamins. You may instead choose to take a specific product depending on your needs. You can buy a variety of pills that are specifically targeted towards certain vitamins in which you may be lacking.
Be careful about taking in too much. If you normally have a good diet, you'll likely get a good variety of vitamins and minerals from your food alone. Supplements are designed to give your intake a boost and maybe make up for areas in which you are already lacking. Watch what you eat and adjust your consumption accordingly. Food products like fortified cereals have added vitamins and minerals. Taking too many could be harmful. An overdose of iron, for example, could cause unpleasant side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Always consume supplements before their expiration date.