We might know enough about nutrition, but we blame our busy lives for not allowing us time for adequate attention to dietary intake and necessary foods. This is where we go wrong. We rely on easily available frozen meals and fast food. And when suddenly a health problem crops up, we start popping herbal or food supplements that we imagine to be beneficial to our health and fitness. But how safe are these food supplements? Do they have side effects? Dr. Simran Saini, Weight Loss Management Consultant at Fortis Hospital, answers all our food supplement queries and tells us how we may use them.
What are food supplements and their types? Food supplements are formulation that is intended to supplement our diet and provides us with nutrients that are not being consumed in sufficient quantities in our diet. The different types of food supplements: Antioxidants, Amino-acids, Carbohydrates, Essential fatty acids, Minerals, Plant extracts, Proteins, Trace elements and Vitamins.
What are the recommended types of food supplements for pregnant women? Iron (Avoiding iron-deficiency anemia reduces risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and infant mortality). Folic Acid (Folic acid reduces the risk of many defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and certain heart defects.) Proteins (It is very important for the building of the healthy development of your baby’s body and cellular structure.) B Vitamins (This vitamin is responsible for development of the fetus’s brain and nervous system). Calcium (This mineral is vital for the development of bones of the fetus and make sure there are enough reserves of calcium in the mother’s bones).
What are the recommended types of food supplements for kids? B and C Vitamins in combination are provided to kids to increase their immunity. Calcium is good for kids for healthy teeth and bone formation.
What are the recommended types of food supplements for seniors? Calcium (This is to make sure that seniors, especially women post the age of 40, do not counter osteoporosis and pre menopausal syndrome).Vitamins (These provide aged women and men with stronger immunity). Fatty Acids like omega 3 (These essential fatty acids manage the cholesterol levels and prevent heart diseases in senior citizens).
What are the recommended food supplements for an average weighing man/woman? Fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6 (These essential fatty acids manage the cholesterol levels and prevent heart diseases in average men and women). Vitamin B and C (These vitamins boost immunity and help in regular metabolic functions in our body).
Nowadays, there are many nutritional health supplements that are considered good combatants against deadly diseases like diabetes, cancer and so on. Do they really work? A balanced diet is the greatest tool against deadly diseases such as diabetes, cancer and other threatening ailments. People concentrate too much on supplements rather than correcting their diet. A good lifestyle that includes a regular workout and controlled diet will give any human a longer and healthy life rather than a nutritional supplement.
Is it safe to take nutritional supplements if I want to lose weight? It is not recommendeded to take nutritional supplements to lose weight. Firstly most weight loss supplements work through increasing the frequency of our bowel movements which destroys our natural bowel movement and causes dehydration and many nutritional deficiencies as well. Secondly some supplements work through eliminating all fat in our diet by excreting it in our feces and this is not recommended as we lose many fatty acids which are essential for our good health.
How about anti-ageing nutritional supplements? It is always best to embark on nature’s way before exploring the other options. Anti-aging supplements include natural supplements that are rich in antioxidants. These particular supplements are vitamin C, vitamin E and green tea in form of capsules or sachets. An effective diet plan to take vitamin C is a nutrition plan that includes healthy portions of fruits and vegetables along with minimizing intake of food loaded with fat will be more effective in reducing the effects of aging rather than eating capsules. And it is important to ask a medical practitioner rather than take supplements on one’s own choice.
What is the recommended allowance of food supplements? Food supplements are safe only when taken on advice of a nutritionist or a medical practitioner. All food supplements have recommended allowance and restricted duration of consumption. Otherwise one can end up with the toxicity of a particular element in the body for example if we take a fat soluble vitamin like Vitamin A for a long time without supervision it will result in vitamin Toxicity which may prove extremely fatal to life.