Food Supplements: What Good Can They Bring

What is your daily food requirement?

The biggest problem of our generation is malnourishment. Obviously, it’s not due to lack of food. It is the lack of information on the daily food requirement. The uninformed way of eating is primarily the culprit behind unhealthy eating habits. One way of determining the daily food requirement is knowing the food groups and what amount should you need to eat of each.

There’s the go, grow, and glow food groups. Those that belong to the Go food group consists of food that gives you energy. These includes any form of grain, sweet potatoes, rice, pasta, bread and even cereals. The second food group are the Grow foods which build the body’s bones, teeth and muscles. This food group consists of poultry such as chicken, eggs, and dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and beans. The last group are the Glow Foods which helps strengthen the immune system. These consist of vegetables and fruits. This scheme  is the easiest way of classifying the food you buy and eat.

Now, the next challenge is to determine what would be your diet every day. Now, if you don’t have a clue what your diet is since you eat randomly, it’s time to take a careful look. Try to make a list of what you eat daily. You can do this for about one week or two. See if you get a good dose of all that’s included in the food group or if you tend to eat much on a certain food group and neglect the rest. This first step can be very helpful what next steps to take.

If you are eating very unhealthy today, you can’t just switch to a healthy mode in one blink. There’s got to be a period of observation and some trial and error. What’s important is that you get started.

 

Supplements are a regular part of the modern-day diet. We may eat healthy and do exercise but we still need supplements. About a third of the people in UK take supplements in 2009 according to researchers!  Whether you call them nutritional, dietary supplements, or food supplements – they are the same in terms of function. These supplements are intended to support the body’s nutritional needs that couldn’t be necessarily supplied by the food that we eat. The nutrients could be vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, and amino acids among others. They are either manufactured as tablets, pills, syrup, or powder. The selection on supplements is huge. In fact, this is strongly evidenced by the billions of dollars poured into the industry. In 2008, the industry was approximately about $50 billion worldwide and is consistently growing.

So, what supplements are you taking? There are mainly six major subdivisions of supplements namely vitamins, minerals, herbs, meal, sports nutrition, and specialty. Well, there could be other varieties too but they generally categorize supplements based on these subdivisions.  Every industry of course has its own following and also rakes in billions of dollars.

The more relevant question to ask however is the validity of the claims of supplements. Can they really help? Well, it would not grow as an industry if there were no significant researches done by the supplement manufacturers to ensure that their products can boost health. Surely, supplements can deter deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, fiber, carbohydrates and other important micro or even macronutrients. In no way, however, can the supplements substitute for real food. There are camps that suggest supplements can do that but isn’t it obvious why they are called supplements? They were created to fill-in the gap for nutritional lack and not the other way around. If this is well clarified now, the next inquiry would be how do we choose the right type of supplements?

Popping a tablet or a pill from a bottle that says food supplement is not a guarantee that  you are getting some help with your immune system or a general health boost. Like any other product available in the market, supplements also need to be examined closely in order to determine their effectiveness. There has to be some checklist to ascertain that a supplement can do good or is a particular supplement just wasting your money and time. There are numerous types of supplements out there and the fact is, regulation in this industry is not that tight. This is not to say supplements are altogether to be discarded. It’s only wise to have guidelines to follow in order to end up with a supplement that’s value-worthy.

The first in the checklist is Ingredients. As a consumer you have to know how do they derive the various vitamins and minerals they indicate as contents to their supplement. Are the ingredients naturally or synthetically produced? Natural supplements are of course way better than synthetic ones. This doesn’t mean though that all synthetic ingredients are bad for the health. It has been proven in many studies and researches that natural ingredients have better absorption level compared to the synthetic ones.

Second in the checklist would be the name of the Manufacturer. The maker of the supplement is accountable to the buyers so if the manufacturer is a company whose activities are dubious  (no address, or contact information provided in the packaging) – you have to be wary. A company with a good track record is a sure way to determine if their products are also reputable.

Third, the supplement should be All-In-One. This only means the supplement contains all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your body needs. Refrain from buying supplements that would provide only one nutritional requirement. It will not only save you some money – it will also reduce your stress of thinking which supplement to take in next.