Nutrition is important for every individual because food provides the nutrients to our body. These nutrients helps us to stay healthy, grow, and work properly.
‘Nutrition today is no longer only about protein, carbohydrates and fats but also about vitamins and minerals’
Convenience has spoiled us all. Popping a pill to get all the required nutrients in a jiffy is like the newest quick fix trend. Getting the nutrients straight from a pill is easy, but supplements not always deliver the promise of better health. Few can even be unsafe, especially when taken in amounts over the recommended doses.
It is better to try to get these nutrients from food- the way nature intended it to be, as opposed to supplements. Micro-nutrients are required by our body in very tiny amounts. However, if your body doesn’t get the small quantities of micro-nutrients that it needs, serious health issues can result.
Micro-nutrients include minerals like selenium, fluoride, sodium, copper, iodine, and zinc. They also include vitamins such as vitamin C, A, D, E and K, as well as the B-complex vitamins.
Here are some of the ways micro-nutrients help in maintaining your body’s mechanism:
- Manganese promotes bone formation and energy production, and helps your body metabolise the macro-nutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fat.
- Magnesium helps your heart maintain its normal rhythm. It helps your body convert glucose into energy, and it is necessary for the metabolization of the micro-nutrients calcium and vitamin C.
- Iodine helps thyroid gland develop and function properly. Body uses iodine to metabolise fats, and promotes energy production and growth.
- Iron helps your body produce lymphocytes and red blood cells.
- Chloride regulates electrolyte and water balance within the cells, as well as helps to maintain appropriate pH of cells.
Go the natural way
To increase the concentration of micro-nutrients in your diet take a diet which includes plenty of whole grains, cereals, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. Consume plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, like cherries, apples, grapes, jamun, bananas, mangoes and oranges. The more colorful your diet, the better dose of micro-nutrients you get. Eat fruit salads for dessert instead of sweets and chocolates. Prepare homemade soups and salads, and include two or more vegetables as side dishes with each meal.
Nutrition Vs Supplementation
Supplements were not intended to be a food substitute as they can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, like vegetables and fruits. So depending on your health status and your eating habits, dietary supplements may not be worth the expense.
Benefits of Whole Foods Over Food Supplements:
- Better Nutrition. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of the micro-nutrients your body needs and not just one in NATURAL form. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C and some calcium, beta carotene, and some other nutrients. It’s likely these compounds work together to produce their beneficial effect.
- Protective Substances. Some other protective components like anti-oxidants and phytochemicals are also found in whole foods which are important for your health. These phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables, are known to protect against cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases. Some also contain antioxidants which slows down oxidation, a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage and are anti-aging.
- Essential Fiber. Whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, provide dietary fiber. These high-fiber foods are also packed with the goodness of other essential nutrients. Fiber, helps in preventing certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can also help manage constipation.
Who can take Supplements?
If one is healthy and eats a wide variety of foods, including fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, whole grains, much likely is that you don’t need dietary supplements. Nevertheless, supplements or fortified foods are recommended in special cases such as for women during pregnancy, adults with severe deficiencies, post-operative individuals, cancer patients or people with food allergies or malabsorption disorder.
It is always advised to consult your Doctor or Dietitian before taking any supplements and also know what doses might be appropriate for you. Be sure to also ask about possible side effects and interactions with any medications you take.
In the end, we all benefit more from improving our diets naturally. Instead of adding pills and powders to your diet and spending money on synthetic nutrition – Have a balanced and nutritious diet. Bridge the nutrition gaps in your diet, as supplements are not the ticket to physical well-being, whole foods are.