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Nutritional supplements

Nutritional supplements; do we need them?

Dietary supplements, are a wide range of oral pills, powders or liquids that include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, essential fatty acids such as omega 3, ergogenic aids (also called bodybuilding supplements), or even herbal products.

Many consume those supplements just to improve their health, digestion, muscles, increase their energy, lose weight or simply to guarantee that they are having all the essential nutrients.

Well, it is very important to be aware that some of these supplements could cause toxicity and be life-threatening if taken in excess or without medical supervision, while others could interact with other drugs. Even if you read on the drug label the terms “natural”, “healthy”, “beneficial for your health”, this doesn’t mean that it is safe to consume it. For instance, the “natural” herbal supplement kava showed to damage the liver; high intake of omega 3 showed that it may increase bleeding time, interfere with wound healing and suppress immune function; Ephedra, another herbal supplement was previously sold to muscle building, but was then banned because of its fatal side effects.

People that may benefit from taking dietary supplements include:

  • People with nutrient deficiency
  • Pregnant or lactating women
  • Newborns
  • Lactose intolerant people
  • Strict vegetarian
  • Elderly people

In contrast, the conditions where nutritional supplements may be risky, useless and contraindicated include the following:

  • To feel secure about getting one’s needs
  • To boost your energy
  • To manage stress
  • To build stronger muscles
  • To prevent or cure self-diagnosed conditions
  • To lose weight

And keep in mind that a well balanced diet is the key to a healthy and natural life, rather than relying on drugs.

  • Foods high in vitamins and minerals

    Why to rely on dietary supplements if you can have a rich variety of vitamins and minerals from the following foods and many others:

    • Spinach and broccoli: rich source of vitamins A, C and E, folic acid and calcium and iron
    • Salmon rich in omega 3, vitamins B12 and D and selenium
    • Sweet potatoes: high in vitamin C and most of the B vitamins and potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and Manganese
    • Kale: high in vitamins K, C, A and B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese
    • Garlic: good source of vitamins C, B1 and B6, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium
    • Shellfish: contains plenty of vitamin B12, D, C, Potassium, Selenium and Iron
    • Avocado: good source of folate, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, B6
    • Papaya: significant amount of folate, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E
    • Eggs: significant source of vitamins B12, B6, D, A, calcium, iron and magnesium