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Dietary Supplements Versus Food

By on August 3, 2009

dietary-supplementsDietary supplements are products that are meant to supplement the diet like vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and other substances to improve your health and diet. They are available in the form of capsules, pills, capsules, liquids and powders. But is it possible to skip our daily intake of fruit and vegetables and instead live on vitamins and minerals?

Our body needs vitamins and minerals for growth and proper function of the body. These vitamins and minerals are together called micronutrients. Calcium is extremely important for strong bones and teeth. Iron is recommended to boost the immune system, and potassium for kidney health. In the same way, we need many other nutrients to help our body function appropriately. But if we take them as supplements only, there will be piles in our medicine cabinet. Our body can’t produce most of these micronutrients. We get them from our diet and some times from dietary supplement. If you are not getting the required nutrients from your regular diet, dietary supplement can accomplish that deficiency. But don’t regard them as a substitute for food. Dietary supplement in no ways produce the benefits of all the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, fruits and vegetables. So it is better to eat a healthy balanced diet, instead of spending lots of money on these nutritional pills.

Source of micronutrients

Whole foods contain maximum vitamins and minerals. They have various potential benefits over dietary supplements.

•    Whole foods provide greater nutrition because they contain a variety of micronutrients which our body requires, not just a single one. For example, an orange contains vitamin C, calcium, beta carotene and other nutrients. But instead of orange when you take vitamin C supplement, it can not provide other micronutrients.

•    Whole food contains fiber which helps to improve our digestive system and protects us from certain diseases like diabetes and heart disease and prevents constipation which any dietary supplement cannot do.

•    Whole foods contain some natural and protective food substances called phytochemicals which can protect us from many diseases like high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Few even act as antioxidants.

If your meals contain a wide variety of foods, lots of green and leafy vegetables, food grains, meat, fish and eggs, you don’t need to depend on dietary supplements. Pregnant women, breast feeding mothers, women experiencing heavy bleeding during menstrual period and person suffering from illness, need to take dietary supplements.

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