n this day and age, we tend to get more and more involved in varied projects, whether they revolve around school, things in the workplace or personal matters. Nevertheless, when we focus so much on what we should do, we tend to forget to take care of that which is the most important – in this case, our bodies and our health.
Not only are our minds put under a whole lot of stress but the same can be said about our bodies. And when we are plagued with fatigue and maybe even drowsiness, alarm bells ring, and we realize something is not as it should be.
So, the question of “ Should I take supplements? ” gets rooted in our brains.
Yes, supplements are marketed as natural ways for us to boost our system and get the extra amounts of energy we need from ingesting minerals or vitamins that our bodies can then use. In theory, that sounds great, but in reality, the issue is more complex than we may first think.
1. The benefits of supplements
The fact of the matter is that supplements are beneficial. They come in various shapes, sizes and forms. However, when most people think of dietary supplements, they think about vitamin tablets or pills. These supplements are scientifically proven to help you get adequate amounts of nutrients in your body. For instance, when flu season rolls in you might feel the need to boost your immune system by taking some Vitamin C.
As with any other conscious choice that we make, taking dietary supplements is best done in moderation and knowing the impact that the supplement will have on your body. Never take a dietary supplement without asking for a professional’s opinion or, at least, looking up the effects online. You can end up doing more damage than good, something that will be discussed in the nest part of this article.
2. The risks of supplements
If your question is “Should I take supplements?”, you must see both positive and negative sides.
One of the first risks that the average person is exposing himself or herself too when taking supplements unsupervised is that they can take more than the regular dose. Yes, your body tends to eliminate excess vitamins through urine, but synthetic supplements can still pack a punch. For example, magnesium is a well-known supplement used to help treat sleeping problems. However, if taken in large doses, magnesium can do a lot of damage to the liver and the stomach lining, leading to ulcers if the person continues this process for longer periods of time.
If you are taking prescribed medication for a medical problem that you have, taking a supplement along with your medication can slow down the effects of the prescribed medication. Even if you do not have to take prescribed medication for something, taking various supplements at once can lead to imbalances in our systems. Certain high vitamin or mineral levels tend to clash with others in the body.
By now you might have asked yourself “But is taking supplements not like getting them from real food?”. No, not really. Most supplements are synthetic vitamins or minerals which are not the same as the natural vitamins that you can find and ingest by sticking to a regular, well-balanced diet. Synthetic vitamin strains are harder to absorb when compared to the natural strain.
If you have been taking dietary supplements for a while now and have not seen any improvement in your condition and your body may even be feeling worse for the run (coughing, nausea, fatigue, drowsiness) please go to your doctor and ask to be tested to see that everything is in check. Excess vitamin or mineral intake can lead to organ damage, and regular testing is best at preventing more dangerous conditions from setting in.
The benefits of a
well-balanced diet plan!
Supplements are in no way designed to completely replace a regular healthy diet followed by daily physical activity. This is why in the final part of the article we would like to focus on the benefits of a balanced diet. Eating healthy completely eliminates the need for taking supplements and also helps you have an excellent immune system.
No supplement, no pill can ever beat a well-balanced, healthy diet plan!
If you would choose the best option available every time you eat, I could answer your Should I Take Supplements Question much easier. I would clearly say NO, you shouldn’t! If you eat a regular healthy diet, you will start to see that your energy levels will be back up. No longer will you feel tired, drowsy or nauseated. Your body will be better at fighting off various illnesses; your cells will regenerate quicker, you will have a smaller risk of getting high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or any other common ailments in our day and age. Most of the people that experience these problems have dealt with poor diet plans in the past.
So, what does eating a “well-balanced diet” really mean? Well, first of all, it focuses on eating a lot of vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits are incredible because not only are they flavorful but they also pack a lot of natural vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Your body will absorb these nutrients faster than by getting them from a pill or a tablet.
Focus on incorporating lean meats in your diet (fatty meats are known to raise cholesterol levels) and whole grains to get a perfect mix of protein and carbohydrates in your diet. Try to incorporate dairy into your diet as well, especially when it comes to low-fat milk. Milk will give you the calcium and vitamin D that the body desperately needs on a daily basis.
BONUS: How to track your nutrients
Getting the hang of how much of the recommended daily levels of vitamins you eat in a day is pretty tricky. If you have just started trying to eat healthily, it may even sound like something that is close to impossible. However, that is not the case. There are multiple tools online that can help you achieve your goals. Most people look for meal tracking apps that allow them to log in the food that they are eating. These apps are great since not only do they track the calories of the food but they also tell you what nutrients you got from eating that food. And when these apps fail, you can even add up the numbers yourself or look online for an answer.
The best app I would recommend for this purpose is Lifesum. It has a free and premium version, but the free version gives you enough features to work with.
Overall, the road to sticking to a healthy diet plan can be an easy one.
To answer the Should I Take Supplements question, supplements can be a crutch when you are going through a rough period, but they should never replace real, fresh food.