Today in our busy lives, nutrition is often overlooked. However due to the increased awareness, people are now realizing the significance of optimum nutrition and its impact on wellbeing. But due to our erratic life-pattern and occupied calendar, most of us are left with no time to eat nutritious food in a timely manner. And in our quest of looking for less demanding alternatives, many resort to dietary supplements. Well, there’s nothing wrong with food supplements except for it is critical to ask yourself a few things before you pick your next supplement pack.
Are there nutritional gaps in your eating regimen?
This is the most important question. Identifying whether you are in actual need of a dietary supplement is the first step. The greatest virtue of dietary supplements is their ability to fulfill the nutritional requirements that cannot be fulfilled through your diet. However, if you are having a well-balanced diet pattern it is unlikely for you to require a supplement. Also food is best in it’s most natural form. So why settle for a synthetic supplement than pure, wholesome food. But this does not mean you have to shun supplements completely. For those who cannot always eat nourishing meals, supplements can truly be beneficial and help in preventing various deficiencies.
Do you have exceptional or special health needs?
Special health needs could be the prime reason for switching to supplements. Meeting the target nutrient requirements could be difficult for certain individuals. For instance, athletes undergoing intense physical training may not be able to fulfill their high requirement for calories and protein only through diet. Dietary supplements are the saviour for them. Similarly, diet alone would not be sufficient to meet requirements for vitamin B12 and iron in many vegetarians. In such cases, supplements are effective.
Is the supplement safe?
Many of us are ignorant to the various ingredients that go into our supplements. However, it is imperative to know the constituents that make your supplement. Is the supplement natural or synthetically engineered? Does it contain some nasty ingredients that do much harm and little good? Is the supplement clinically tested? Does it have any interaction with your current medications, if any? Knowing answers for all these questions is a must before choosing any supplement.
Does it have any adverse effects?
Having understood the ingredients and formulation of supplement brings us to another important aspect- understanding the negatives. It is important to read the label carefully for any warnings mentioned. Also be cautious of falling prey to unsubstantiated health claims.
Does your doctor or dietitian recommend it?
It is always advisable to seek an expert’s opinion before choosing a dietary supplement. This is a must, especially for pregnant ladies and nursing mothers and people suffering for an existing health issue. Your healthcare professional can evaluate your medical condition and educate you regarding the supplements that would give best results and also be safe.
And hey, understand that supplements are just an additional source to meet your nutritional needs. They are not a substitute to a balance diet. And remember to ask the above questions before picking up your next supplement pack.