If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that health should be a priority. The basis of good health begins with nutrition and getting all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants your body needs. While you may think eating a nutritious, balanced diet is sufficient, it’s usually not the case. Most people need to include supplements in their diet to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.
What are Supplements
A supplement is a concentrated form of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or antioxidants. They are made up of herbs, plant extracts, botanical components, and other ingredients and can be available as tablets, capsules, powders, or syrup. Supplements, as the name suggests, should not replace whole foods completely but be used in conjunction with a healthy meal plan or diet.
Why We Need Supplements
Supplements are not just for athletes or people who are pregnant, sick or recovering. Everyone can benefit from taking supplements to make up for nutritional deficiencies. Times have changed, and most people are not able to get all their dietary needs from the food they eat.
Some of the reasons that folks aren’t able to get all the required vitamins and minerals from food include:
Poor or Restrictive Diet
With many people leading a hectic life, there is little to no time to sit down to eat a blanched meal, let alone have time to prepare it. A lot of people rely on fast foods or takeout, which is typically not healthy, lacks nutrients, and is made up of simple carbs and sugar.
Other people follow a restrictive diet, like veganism or vegetarianism. It could be for health or ethical reasons, but cutting out an entire food group can mean you will lack certain essential nutrients.
Quality of Food
Even if you take the time to draw up a healthy, balanced meal plan, shop for fresh produce, and cook nutritious meals, you are still unlikely to get all the nutrients your body needs. While it’s healthier than fast foods, it’s still not enough. The quality of ingredients is not the same as it was in the past.
To meet consumer demands, farming methods have had to change to increase the speed at which animals are raised, and crops are grown. In some cases, farm animals like cows and pigs are injected with hormones to make them grow faster, which is less healthy for humans.
Also, fresh produce is not as nutrient-dense as it used to be because these nutrients have been depleted in the soil where they grow.
Lifestyle factors like stress mean people need an extra boost to cope with everyday pressure. Excess pressure can impact the immune system, so many people rely on immune-boosting supplements to prevent them from becoming sick.
Another lifestyle factor is that most people spend a large part of their time indoors and therefore don’t get sufficient vitamin D, which you obtain from exposure to the sun.
People who workout may require additional nutrients to give them the energy they need to exercise. These extra supplements are necessary to help build and repair muscle after a strenuous training session.
As you get older, your body requires larger doses of specific vitamins and minerals that you can’t get from your diet alone. Your body may also struggle to absorb certain nutrients as you age because breaking down the food you eat is difficult.
Sometimes, the medication you take depletes essential nutrients, so taking a supplement restores the balance.
Supplements You Should Include in Your Diet
With the massive range of supplements available on the market, it can be challenging to know which one to take. While everyone has different needs, the following are particularly beneficial:
Also called Retinol, Vitamin A is fat-soluble and is necessary to keep the skin healthy by fighting off free radicals. Retinol also prevents infection, maintains good vision, keeps the heart, lungs, and kidneys healthy, and strengthens the teeth and bones.
Everyone should take Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, especially during the winter when more people risk getting a cold or the flu.
It’s a great immunity booster, keeps the skin and tissue healthy, and strengthens the teeth and bones.
If you have an iron deficiency, taking Vitamin C will help your body to absorb iron more efficiently.
Vitamin D is made in the skin, but it only happens when exposed to the sun. Fifteen minutes in the sun is enough time to make the required amount of vitamin D that the body needs, but this isn’t always possible.
Whether you work indoors, live in an area surrounded by tall buildings that block the sun, or in a cooler climate, a lot of people don’t get enough sun exposure.
A lack of vitamin D can cause osteoporosis, hair loss, depression, and an increased risk of infection.
Zinc helps the body to use foods like carbs, protein, and fat for energy. It also assists in healing wounds and is an immune booster. The body can’t store zinc, and most diets lack this essential nutrient. Zinc is typically lacking in highly stressed people and the elderly, so taking a zinc supplement daily is hugely beneficial.
Creatine supplements are excellent for athletes and people who exercise regularly. It’s known to boost performance by providing more energy, speeding up recovery, and building muscle.
While it’s great for active people, everyone can benefit from including creatine supplements in their diet as it may also prevent neurological diseases like epilepsy and Alzheimers. If you’re looking for a creatine supplement, Barbends best Creatine picks include options that suit a range of different lifestyles.
Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium and magnesium are vital minerals that keep the bones, teeth, and heart healthy and strong. A lack of these minerals can lead to brittle bones. Magnesium is also known to reduce stress and helps people who have difficulty sleeping.