Many of us, including our family, have been on a daily regimen of nutritional supplements in an effort to strengthen our immune system.
Ideally, we eat plenty of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, along with lean meat and fish. This should provide all the nutrients we need to fuel our bodies.
However, as people get older, they tend to not eat a lot of the right foods, try to lose a few pounds, won’t eat a variety of balanced foods, and in the end, some people are simply picky about eating. So, we turn to supplements to fill in the blank.
Any dietitian or dietitian will tell you that eating the right foods is much better for you.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some very specific supplements that doctors recommend for very specific conditions. But, if you’ve been consuming a handful of this and that in pursuit of good health, you may be done with it.
More than half of the American population buys the idea that supplements are healthy, spending upwards of $28 billion annually, according to some estimates. But while many of them can benefit the person taking them, a growing body of research is beginning to show that some may do the opposite, increasing the risk of some cancers.
Eating too much calcium, for example, can lead to the development of kidney stones, kidney failure, and hypercalcemia – too much calcium in the blood. Excessive intake of vitamin C also inhibits the body’s ability to absorb copper. And according to the American Cancer Society, too many vitamins A, D, and K can become toxic within the body.
Unlike prescription medications, the Food and Drug Administration is not required to test dietary supplements for safety. Instead, supplement manufacturers are trusted to ensure safety and communicate important information on labels.
I strongly advise, consult your doctor before starting any supplement. At the very least, the side effects include digestive upsets and it gets worse depending on your sensitivity and the levels that build up in your body.
If you are taking prescription medications, be sure and check to see if the supplements you want to take are compatible with them. In some cases, they are not and can cause serious health problems.
Consumers often assume that because they are readily available, supplements must be safe. This may be true by itself, but when combined with medications, supplements can cause serious adverse reactions.
St. John’s wort, vitamin E, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba have all been touted for their ability to promote certain health aspects. Unfortunately, it also interacts with many widely prescribed medications and causes life-threatening reactions.
These days, most packaged foods advertise “added vitamins,” “added minerals,” “fortified,” and “nutritionally enhanced.” These are all great marketing ploys. The idea is that the products find their way into your pantry.
These products are usually fortified because too many nutrients are removed during processing and must be added back to gain any nutritional value. Then there are the teas that reduce toxins and remove toxins. Be very careful. The way these detox and trimming products work will keep you very close to the shower.
First of all, read the labels. Yes, grocery shopping will take a little longer, but read these labels and find out what’s going through your body.
Stay away from as much processed foods as possible, fresh or frozen vegetables will give you the best nutrition, canned, and a lot less. Dried beans are an excellent source of protein, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
A serving size of meat, about the size of a playing card, will provide you with all the nutrients you need when served with two types of vegetables. You don’t need as much food as you think, but you do need good quality food.
A little effort will save you a lot of money and you will really feel healthier.
There are no over-the-counter magic pills or potions. Not for weight loss. Not for energy. not see better. Never stop ringing in your ears. Not thinking clearly.
If you have health concerns, see your doctor.
Jodi Holton writes about health at Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.