The health industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the 21st century. People have become health conscious and pharmaceutical companies have cashed in on it. Dietary supplement producers and suppliers use convincing marketing strategies to sell fitness, vitality and happiness for a disease free life. Healthy people can meet their nutritional needs through a balanced diet. If one consumes plenty of fruits, green leafy vegetables and whole grains there is no need to take a supplement.
Most fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients to meet the daily dietary intake. Depending on gender, age and food combinations the body may absorb more or less nutrients. Supplements have their own pros and cons and one must consult a physician before taking them.
The benefits of food supplements
1-Prevention of diseases
Certain nutrients are lacking in most diets . For instance-Vitamin D is absolutely necessary for strong bones and calcium absorption but there are very foods that contain vitamin D ,so taking a supplement could prevent a number of diseases like arthritis ,osteoporosis etc. Another very important supplement is omega 3fatty acid. Salmon ,tuna and fish are very rich sources of Omega 3 but vegetarians may miss out on it . omega 3 can prevent a number of diseases like heart diseases, anxiety and depression ,skin disorders and also asthma in children. So taking a Omega 3 supplement could be a good idea.
2-To supplement a poor diet
Some people lead very busy lives and may not be able to shop for fresh foods or cook them. For such people taking nutritional supplements may be a good idea. Many people who are aware of the shortfalls of their diet may make up for the lack of their diet by taking a multi-vitamin.
3- To enhance physical performance
Dietary supplements can be used to improve physical performance during exercise ,weight training in specific. Weight training involves breaking down of the muscle and building it up again. So taking protein supplements may help you in the process and also also delay fatigue.
But there are two sides to a coin and taking supplements can have their disadvantages too
1-Supplements are not adequate substitutes for food nutrients
Supplements are artificial and in no way can replace nutrition. They have their own side effects like nausea, head-aches ,liver damage, dizziness etc. Also taking supplements on a regular basis may hinder with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients
2-One could also overdose
Taking too many supplements may cause you to increase the toxicity in your body. Taking too many calcium supplements may lead to stones or hypercalcemia. Many supplements also cause diarrhoea . sometimes the body might not absorb these supplements and they could be washed away in the urine as well. It could be just a waste of money then.
3-Supplements are not filling enough to produce satiety.
Foods contain fibre so they give you a feeling of satiety but popping pills do not compensate for food and may cause more harm than help. Nothing can substitute the food that you eat and one must make wise choices to derive the maximum benefits.
So ideally one should eat a healthy diet complete with fresh fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods. Eating plenty of nuts, seeds ,garlic ,yogurt may all provide you with all the nutrition that you need but in certain cases supplements could provide the boost that the body needs to lead a disease free life and also battle chronic diseases. One should always consult a physician before taking any kind of supplement.
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