The human body needs six nutrients daily for optimal health. The essential nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, protein, minerals, vitamins, and water.
Eating a diet made up of whole foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, is the best way to make sure the body gets an ample amount of the nutrients it needs.
Hectic schedules and the prevalence of processed foods, which are both quick to make and inexpensive to buy, make it difficult for many to get all of the needed nutrients through diet alone.
Dietary supplements can help people who are generally in good health get the nutrients they might be missing from their diets.
As long as a person takes supplements to enhance their nutrition, not to replace foods, the supplements can provide several benefits to the mind and body.
The dietary supplement industry has grown over the years to become a multi-billion dollar field, making it a challenge for many people to figure out which supplements are best for them.
It can be difficult to get adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals from food alone, so many people benefit from adding a multivitamin to their diet.
A multivitamin provides calcium, which strengthens bones and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis, as well as vitamin D, which improves the function of the immune system and helps the body absorb calcium.
Multivitamins also provide vitamin B12, which some people have trouble absorbing from food.
B12 helps the body produce DNA as well as red blood cells.
An insufficient amount of B12 in the body can cause tiredness, anemia, depression, and confusion.
The type of multivitamin a person takes is as important as deciding to take a supplement in the first place.
It can be hard for some people’s bodies to absorb synthetic nutrients.
When choosing a multivitamin supplement, people should look for one made from food sources.
Most people are able to absorb more nutrients from natural sources.
You should also pay particular attention to Vitamins D3 (found in supplements like Testofuel), Vitamin B6, and Vitamin K2, as these are vitamins not typically found in food sources.
Although many people are trained to think of fat as being all bad, it is actually an important nutrient for the health of the mind and body.
The body needs fat to build cells, for proper brain function, for vision, and for heart and lung health. A person who gets an adequate amount of fat in their diet will also see improvements in the health of their hair and skin.
Certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, are fat soluble, meaning the body needs fat to fully make use of the vitamins.
The body can’t properly absorb fat-soluble nutrients without an adequate amount of fat.
Not all fats are created equally, though.
People should limit their intake of trans fat, which is often found in fast food and other processed foods.
Trans fat raises cholesterol levels and puts people at a greater risk for developing heart disease.
The fats people should try to eat more of or supplement with include monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and omega 3 fatty acids.
A fish oil supplement is an ideal way to add omega 3 fatty acids to the diet.
Omega 3’s help raise the levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, in the body.
They also play a role in keeping the mind sharp and helping the brain function.
Along with taking a multivitamin and fish oil supplement, some people will benefit from taking a protein supplement.
Protein plays a big role in the overall health and development of the body. It builds skin, bones, and hair.
Without an adequate amount of protein in the diet, growth is stunted.
Protein also helps the immune system function properly and improves the function of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Protein is found in a wide range of foods, from meat and fish to beans and nuts.
Generally, the protein found in animal foods such as meat is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the amino acids needed to produce protein in the body.
Non-animal sources of protein aren’t always complete, meaning people who don’t eat meat or other animal products need to make an extra effort to eat a variety of protein or to supplement with protein powder or shakes.
Supplements aren’t ideal for everyone.
People with kidney problems should avoid taking protein supplements, for example.
It’s a good idea for a person to check in with their doctor before they start taking any nutritional supplements to make sure the supplement will benefit them.
Learn more about the mind and body benefits of nutritional supplements at these links:
- Supplements: Nutrition in a Pill?
- How to Choose a Multivitamin
- Dietary Supplements: The Smart and Safe Use of Vitamins and Supplements
- Tips for Dietary Supplement Users
colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09338.html">Dietary Supplements: Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Protein: Moving Closer to Center Stage
- Resistance Training: Benefits of Post-Exercise Consumption of Protein Supplements
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