Food Supplements in the Diet

These supplements help to improve concentration and heighten awareness when situations such as final exams or intense work dates exceed us. Returning to school or working life can involve a complex process of adaptation, both physical and mental. As a result, many people consult a nutrition coach to help them cope better today by adding dietary supplements or correcting their eating habits.

For many people, dietary supplements are a totally unknown subject. Today, we explain what your benefits are and when to use them. Keep reading our article and take note! After this article, you will have a clear idea of what these types of compounds are and what they are for.

What are dietary supplements?

Before you know when to take them, you need to understand what a dietary supplement is. A dietary supplement is a concentrated nutrient that gives us the energy we need at the right time. They can be composed of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, other substances that come in the form of pills or dredges and that, when we ingest them, our body receives the amount it needs to function properly.

Because of the amount of pesticides and herbicides used in food preparation, both plant and animal, food can lose some of its vitamins and minerals. In these cases, the consumption of dietary supplements can bring us vitamin and/or minerals in its complete composition.

Depending on the amount of nutrients we need, the supplement will be more or less dosed. It is important to supervise a nutrition coach, as excessive consumption can have totally opposite effects and harm our health.

When should we take them?

As we have commented, it is recommended to take nutritional supplements when our body is overworked and difficult to function. We can go through periods of stress, days of insomnia or our diet is completely unbalanced. During this time, it is advisable to use this type of pills, when it seems that our body weighs heavier than usual and “it is difficult to get the best out of ourselves”. This is a symptom of nutritional deficiency.

So dietary supplements are taken in a timely manner. This detail is important because a healthy and balanced diet already provides all the nutrients we need, although there are usually exceptions.

Experts point out that before eating dietary supplements, you should consult a specialist and read the label carefully. Without the advice of a professional, we can abuse nutrient intake and harm our health. For example, multivitamin supplements can lead to excessive vitamin consumption.

Risk control

The active ingredients in the supplements have a powerful biological effect on our bodies. Therefore, we need to evaluate several aspects before consumption:

  • The combination of different supplements should be avoided.
  • Do not take supplements if you are taking medication.
  • Do not substitute the consumption of dietary supplements for prescription drugs.
  • The intake should be controlled: do not take too many doses of certain supplements, such as vitamin A, vitamin D or iron, as this could generate an opposite effect to the one we are looking for and complicate our health.

Remember that the main advice that any dietitian recommends to lead a healthy life is to take a wide variety of healthy vegetables, fruits, cereals, fats and proteins. In fact, the message from all European countries on how to conduct a healthy diet does not immediately provide for a dietary supplement. “They’re no substitute for healthy eating.” What does this sentence remind you of? We find it easily in the instructions of any dietary supplement.

When are they a necessity?

On the other hand, there are people who need to use dietary supplements for health problems. This is the case for pregnant women, especially those living in poverty. These women are generally iron deficient and therefore at risk of being born with a lower than normal weight. To correct it, it is recommended to take folic acid during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

It is possible that despite a balanced diet, there are nutritional deficiencies. In fact, there is a certain shared concern for the food of young Europeans. As the European Food Information Council (Eufic) has pointed out, vitamin D levels are not sufficient, especially in northern countries. Vitamin D comes not only from food, but also from the sun. It is therefore recommended to take vitamin D supplements in these countries.

For more information, the European Food Information Council recommends the consumption of supplements to certain groups of the population who are more likely to be food deficient. These are:

  • People over the age of 50. They are recommended with supplements of vitamin D, vitamin B (12) and folic acid.
  • Women of childbearing age. Supplements containing folic acid, vitamin D and iron.
  • Less than five years of age. Vitamins A, C and D, but if you try to eat a varied diet is not necessary.
  • Women in lactation. Vitamin D.
  • Vegan people. Vitamin B (12) and vitamin D (2).

Benefits Of Dietary Supplements

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that “some supplements can help ensure adequate intake of essential nutrients.” While others say they are indicated to reduce the risk of contracting diseases. However, the agency warns that supplements should not replace the variety of foods essential to a healthy diet. As the name suggests, these are complements. Therefore, we must first prioritize eating well.

Nor should we confuse dietary supplements with medicines. Dietary supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent diseases. With which, its consumption should not involve the treatment of a pathology. Simply, these are products that can improve our well-being by giving us the energy boost we need for a certain period of time.

In principle, as we have said, a balanced diet and healthy habits help us produce the nutrients necessary to cope with our daily lives, without resorting to any type of nutritional supplement.

Can we avoid the consumption of dietary supplements?

As you can see, supplements can be a “necessity” in cases where there is a pathology requiring its consumption provided it is approved by a nutrition professional.

If this is not the case, for example, if you are looking for a vitamin supplement, be aware that proper consumption of fruits and vegetables will not require you to add other supplements. These foods in themselves already contain the vitamins and minerals necessary to ensure good health.

Are you in short supply or in need of vitamin D? Heavy consumption of blue fish, eggs, cheese and omega 3-rich dairy products. And if you’re looking for a supplement that will give you more magnesium, remember that plant-based foods, such as legumes, nuts, dairy products and fish, will contribute this mineral.

In short, if you think you need a specific nutritional intake, consult your nutritionist or doctor first. The professional will determine whether it is really necessary to integrate this type of supplement. In the vast majority of cases, it is simply a matter of “playing the cards well”. In other words, increase or decrease the consumption of certain foods based on the benefits we need to extract.