Do we need Supplements?
It’s always good to eat balanced diet which consists of all nutrients in daily routine but incase if you have deficiency or need your body to repair cells or to provide all essential nutrients , it is advisable to look for supplements.
Why we need supplements in Daily routine?
Minerals and vitamins play an important role in good health. The amount of minerals and vitamins we need are smaller as compared to macro-nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats, but their influence on our wellbeing is huge. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to supplement our diets to get health enhancing amounts of vitamins and minerals, but the nature of modern living is such that most often this is not the case nowadays. Technically, a whole foods diet should provide us with all the nutrition that we need for optimum health, but unfortunately, there’s a whole host of modern day environmental and lifestyle issues that make it much harder than it was for our ancestors.
Some of the most common reasons for reducing the nutritional value of food we eat are :
- Soil depletion reduces the nutrient content of crops,
- Hybrid crops can provide lower nutrient food
- Modern fertilisers don’t supply enough trace elements
- Pesticides and herbicides damage soil microorganisms and reduce the nutrition of the crops
- Long-distance transportation of many foods diminishes their nutrition
Supplements can be useful for filling in gaps in your diet.
Now a days, we have supplements for everything but some of the most needed supplements, which are good to add are multivitamins, calcium and vitamins (B, C ,D), iron, fish oil (omega 3), Calcium supports bone health, and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants—molecules that prevent cell damage and help to maintain health. People take these supplements to make sure they get enough essential nutrients and to maintain or improve their health. Each vitamin helps us in one or other way.
Vitamin D :
Sunlight is the most common source of Vitamin D and other than that it is found in fatty fish, meat, dairy and fortified soy beverages, helps build and maintain strong bones by helping in the absorption of calcium. If you are vegetarian or vegan or have any health condition in which you avoid such foods, it is advisable to add Vitamin D supplements in your daily routine. Especially if your levels are less than 20, then you need a heavy dose of at least 60,000 IU of D3 once every week. Once your levels are up to 60, you should be good and can continue 800-2000 IU daily.
Foods with vitamin D
- fatty fish
- egg yolks
- fortified foods like milk, juice, and cereal
Humans need calcium to build and maintain strong bones, and most of the body’s calcium is in the bones and teeth. It is also necessary for maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It plays a role in muscle movement and cardiovascular function.
Women in particular start losing bone density earlier, and getting enough calcium from the start is the best nutritional defence against this loss.
Foods with calcium
- fortified cereals
- milk, cheese, and yogurt
- salty fish
- broccoli and kale
- nuts and nut butters
- beans and lentils
Note : If you are taking calcium supplements, calcium isn’t enough for bone health. Vitamin D is really more important and Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption.
Vitamin C, a nutrient found in foods, like citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables, and fortified products. It act as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage by free radicals, it also helps in building strong immunity. Incase if you have frequent cough and cold, it is advisable to add Vitamin C into your daily routine. If you’re taking 1,000 mg at a time, you’re not absorbing it fast enough. So generally speaking, taking 500 mg is all you need to take in normal condition and 1000 mg incase you are suffering from common cough and cold.
Foods with Vitamin C
- Green and red peppers
There are several B vitamins, from B1 to B12, and they’re all incredibly important to our body’s functioning. But a commonly deficient one is B12, a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. If you are low on Vitamin B-12 or have dietary restriction such as vegetarian or have allergy towards fish, are advised to take Vitamin B-12 supplements. Vegan or vegetarians are prone to vitamin B-12 deficiency because most food sources are animal-based like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
Foods rich in Vitamin B
- Whole grains (brown rice, barley, millet)
- Meat (red meat, poultry, fish)
- Eggs and dairy products (milk, cheese)
- Legumes (beans, lentils)
- Seeds and nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds)
- Dark, leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kai lan)
- Fruits (citrus fruits, avocados, bananas)
Iron is an important part of overall health, as it is an integral part of many of the body’s proteins and enzymes. Because it helps with the transportation of oxygen in the blood cells, iron deficiency can cause fatigue, poor work performance and decreased immunity.
Look for a multi with around 18 mg of iron in the form of ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, ferric citrate, or ferric sulfate anything more than that, you may feel nauseous.
Foods rich in Iron
- Beans and lentils
- Baked potatoes
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
- Fortified breakfast cereals.
- Whole-grain and enriched breads.
Omega 3 :
An important supplement for just about everyone is fish oil, which contains an omega-3 fatty acid that can help with everything from cardiovascular health and brain functioning to arthritis and inflammation. Omega-3s play important roles in the body as components of the phospholipids that form the structures of cell membranes. DHA, in particular, is especially high in the retina, brain and sperm. In addition to their structural role in cell membranes, omega-3s (along with omega-6s) provide energy for the body and are used to form eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are signaling molecules that have similar chemical structures to the fatty acids from which they are derived; they have wide-ranging functions in the body’s cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune and endocrine systems.
Look for 1-gram or 1000mg dose of Omega 3 in a day with EPA & DHA 2:1 ratio, unless your doctor recommends more and combination of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Foods rich in Omega 3
- Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines)
- Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)
- Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil)
For vitamins and minerals, check the % Daily Value (DV) for each nutrient to make sure you’re not getting too much. It’s important to consider the DV and upper limit. Too much of certain supplements can be harmful.
Evidences & researches suggest that some supplements enhance health in different ways. But supplements should be considered bonus boosters, not replacements for food.
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