Eating a diet of wholesome foods is one of the keys to a healthy lifestyle. Daily exercise is also very important. You may worry, however, that you aren’t getting enough of the nutrients you need just by eating nourishing food. As hard as you may try, it can be difficult to eat the recommended 5 to 9 servings of vegetables and fruits each day.
Over half of the people living in the United States take at least one dietary supplement every day. Supplements can vary depending on your age and food tolerance issues. They come in various forms, such as pills, liquids or powders. There are so many different vitamins and minerals on the market that choosing what is best for your body can be overwhelming.
Tips to Follow When Choosing Dietary Supplements
- Read the label carefully to make sure that the minerals won’t interact negatively with any medications you are currently taking. If you have any concerns, consult your doctor before you begin taking any new vitamin or mineral.
- Follow the dosage that is recommended on the label. Taking too much of any vitamin or mineral could produce unhealthy side effects, such as diarrhea.
- Make sure to take the supplement as directed. Some supplements should be taken with food while others may need to be taken while the stomach is empty.
- Never substitute supplements for your normal intake of food. As the name suggests, these minerals should supplement healthy food choices.
Types of Supplements
- Vitamins – There are 13 vitamins considered essential in helping your body’s cells function properly. Vitamins including D, C, A, E and the family of B vitamins are all necessary for a healthy body. Without them, you could potentially face serious health issues.
- Minerals – There are also 16 essential minerals that the body needs. These include (among others) calcium, chloride, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and magnesium.
- Nutraceuticals – These are products that are typically derived from a food source that also includes substances that aid in health issues.
Choosing the Right Supplements
There a lot of things to consider when deciding which supplements are right for you and your family.
- Babies and Young Children – Breast milk or infant formula should supply all the nutrients that babies require. At about six months, solid foods are usually added to the diet. They should be rich in vitamins and minerals. You should make sure infant cereals and baby foods include a good iron source. As children grow, they need plenty of fruits, vegetables and meats. A chewable vitamin can be added to ensure that all nutrients are included in their daily intake.
- Teens – Girls especially need to make sure they are getting enough calcium and iron in their diet. A multivitamin with iron can be added to the daily diet.
- Seniors – Calcium is crucial for seniors. Taking a vitamin D supplement can stave off osteoporosis. A supplement with vitamins C and K can help with circulation. Many seniors can’t absorb enough vitamin B12, which is needed to keep the nerves and blood healthy.
- Vegetarians and Vegans – Most nutritional needs can be met by eating a diet that is plant-based. The one exception may be vitamin B12, which is mostly found in animal-based food.
- Pregnant Women – Women who are anticipating getting pregnant should always consult their doctor before taking any supplements. There are vitamins specifically geared for the expecting mother.
Private label supplements are a good choice in finding the supplements you need. These are supplements such as vitamins, nutraceuticals and minerals that are produced by a supplement manufacturer and sold by another company. Private labels provide a wide variety of supplements.
Whatever dietary supplements you choose, research your choices carefully. When in doubt, consult with a health professional.