Gone are the days where we could only rely on food for all our nutritional needs. Today’s food is not as nutrition-dense as it used to be. And our lifestyle – of quick-fix meals squeezed between chores – is keeping us nutrition-starved and unhealthy.
We are not consuming the variety of food we require for optimal health, nor are we intaking food in the right portions and serves. Our meals are not balanced. Far from it, our meals are highly-processed and packaged.
This is where dietary supplements play a crucial role. They are little bundles of goodness that supplement our diet. Not only do they provide us with essential nutrients that are missing from our food, they also fortify and protect us. They aid in our biological processes, bolster our systems and augment our enzymes. They include vitamins, minerals and herbal products or botanicals. And they are available in shops near us.
While it is a good thing to consider taking supplements, you need clear know-how regarding which supplement to take and the right dosage. In this blog post, I discuss some important considerations you must make.
First and Foremost
Choosing the right supplements is about knowing your body and how it works. Take the time for a thorough health check-up – do a blood test, check your eyes, do a kidney function test, check your blood pressure and have your liver, gallbladder and stomach examined. And finally, have all your tests diagnosed and explained.
Don’t worry! Let this list of tests not frighten you. Consider talking to a Health Coach who will guide you and walk you through everything.
Over and on top of the physical checks, I also conduct a Health History evaluation. This evaluation delves deep into your family health and considers a variety of mental, emotional or stress-related ailments that may be hampering your health. We discuss your lifestyle – eating and exercising habits, as well as a variety of other factors.
Once you have a holistic picture of your health status, it is far easier picking and choosing the supplements that will help!
Generally speaking, this list of supplements works for everyone. However, it is important to adhere to the prescribed dosages.
Word of caution: It is important to note that some vitamins (those that are fat-soluble) and minerals can accumulate in the body and cause toxicity, if over-consumed. If you continue to over-consume, this may even prove lethal.
- Vitamin D: Our body gets its needed quota of Vitamin D from sunlight. Increasingly, however, our work has moved indoors and we’re not exposed to healthy sunlight. Vitamin D supplements are a great alternative.
Vitamin D is required to absorb calcium from the intestines. This is why vitamin D is so important for the health of your bones. Vitamin D also appears to reduce the risk of various neuromuscular problems.
- B Group Vitamins: The B Group Vitamins are vital for healthy metabolism, heart and brain function and for the production of Red Blood Cells.
Vitamin B12 is not synthesized in the body and can only be consumed through animal-based foods. So, this vitamin is, in fact, crucial for vegetarians and vegans. Vitamin B9 or folate is an essential supplement for women, especially during pregnancy and mensuration.
- Magnesium: Taking magnesium supplements is a good idea. Magnesium is less prevalent in the soil, and so many of us suffer from magnesium deficiency without even realizing it.
Magnesium helps in making the active form of Vitamin D. It also helps in retaining potassium in the body.
- Iron: Iron helps in cell oxygenation. Without optimum levels of iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Vegetarians may be required to take a higher dosage of iron.
- Fibre: Fibre supplements can treat more than just constipation. They are potentially beneficial for a number of health conditions such as varicose veins, heart diseases and obesity. The popular low-carb diets are deficient in fibre. Whole foods, grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds are good sources of fibre, but supplements can be effective too.
- Calcium: Calcium is a great supplement for women. Women run a higher risk of contacting osteoporosis, with age and during menopause. Calcium supplements can be combined with Vitamin D supplements for greater effectiveness.
- Fish Oil: For decades fish-eaters have enjoyed higher immunity against stroke and heart disease. Fish oil is the active ingredient that helps. Fish oil supplements can also be effective against depression, anxiety, bowel inflammation and even arthritis.
Exercise Buyer’s Discretion
While buying supplements exercise discretion. Don’t fall for unsubstantiated over-the-top claims on labels, these maybe marketing gimmicks.
Buy from a trusted vendor. Ensure that the product has been developed using good manufacturing practices. Buy GMO-free, organic certified products. A Tru-ID certified product is verified to contain the ingredients that are claimed.
And finally, know that supplements are not food substitutes. They are meant to enhance your nutritional intake. Be sure to combine them with a healthy wholesome lifestyle – eating good food, exercising regularly and staying positive.