You might have heard the term “Supplements” used very often. Maybe your friends are taking supplements or you have heard about them on TV commercials or it has been advised to you by your dietician or doctor. So, what are supplements and why do we need them?
Supplements are nutrients that sometimes we get deficient in. This can happen due to many reasons like irregular work schedules, improper diet, stress, or due to reasons like a weak immune system, there is no one reason for this.
Our immune system is a complex collection of cells, processes, and chemicals. These processes constantly defend your body against invading pathogens. These lacking nutrients can be complemented by supplements.
It is develops with these nutrients. Hence, if we lack nutrients, we will take supplements to prevent ourselves from having a weaker immune system. While taking nutrients you must know which nutrient your body needs, consequently which supplements you need to buy.
It is advised to ask your dietitian or doctor before you start taking nutritional supplements.
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Supplements and Their Goodness
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient needed for healthy vision, immune function, teeth, skin, and reproduction. It also helps in the proper functioning of the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Majorly found in carrots, cod liver oil, eggs, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, most dark green leafy greens, and mangoes.
Vitamin B12 helps in the production of red blood cells and the proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in fish, beef, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Signs of deficiency include fatigue and tiredness. But take proper advice as an excess of vitamin B12 can lead to side effects like anxiety, dizziness, or headaches.
Vitamin C helps in protecting our body against infections and works as an antioxidant. Vitamin C also helps to clear out dead cells and to replace them with new ones. High sources are found in broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.
Vitamin D enhances white blood cells that help us in creating a strong defense mechanism in our immune system. This nutrient is essential to the health and the functioning of our immune system.
The deficiency of vitamin D can increase the risk of respiratory tract infection. Vitamin D is advised to take if calcium supplements are given to a person as it helps in absorbing calcium in their body. Good sources of vitamin D include tuna, salmon, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.
Vitamin E is good for hair growth, eyes, and skin. The deficiency of vitamin E can affect the eye (retina). Good sources of vitamin E include nuts, spinach, avocados, squash, broccoli, and wheat germ.
Calcium is the super-nutrient for keeping bones and teeth strong. Also, it prevents osteoporosis. Lack of calcium is generally seen in elderly people. The best source for calcium is dairy products, especially milk.
The main function of iron is to carry oxygen throughout our body as a part of red blood cells. An interesting fact to know about iron is the amount of iron absorbed in our body partly depends upon the amount of iron already stored.
Iron deficiency can cause anaemia, and the most common symptom is fatigue or feeling tired. Menstruating women who don’t consume iron-rich foods are at a high risk of iron deficiency. Cooked oysters, white beans, dark chocolate, and spinach are good sources of iron.
Magnesium is an important nutrient that helps promote good sleep, better energy, and better digestion. Foods rich in magnesium are nuts, seeds, halibut, tuna, dry beans, low-fat dairy products, and spinach.
Zinc is one of the most essential minerals for the proper functioning of our immune system. Zinc helps in immune cell development and communication. The deficiency of zinc can increase the risk of infection and disease, including pneumonia.
Around two billion people worldwide are found to be zinc deficient. Good sources of zinc include whole grains, oysters, red meat, poultry, and milk products.
Healthy Supplements for Gaining Muscle
Creatine is a substance that is produced naturally in your body. It provides energy for your muscles during high-intensity exercise and heavy lifting. Your energy is significantly decreased when creatine stores in your muscles are depleted.
Supplementing with creatine increases the available stores in your muscles. This helps the muscles recover more quickly during heavy weight training and high-intensity exercise, promoting increased muscle size.
Further, creatine benefits include brain health, sustained energy, muscle strength, and cardio boost.
Protein is an essential nutrient that promotes muscle gain and repairs tissue. As for gaining muscle, the amount of protein to be consumed should be more than the amount of protein your body breaks down.
Sometimes it gets tough to get enough protein from your food to gain muscle. There are several protein powder supplements available that can be added to a shake or smoothie. Whey is the most popular. Other common types include casein, soy, pea, and hemp.
Also, adding extra protein to a diet by taking supplements helps you feel fuller. Thus, not only do protein supplements promote more muscle gain, but it helps with weight loss.
While taking external supplements you must always take some precautions:
- Supplements can cause problems if you have certain health issues. Also, the effects of many supplements haven’t been tested in children, pregnant women, and other groups. Therefore, always take advice from your dietician.
- People going to have surgery or gone through one should ask their doctor’s advice before adding supplements to their daily routine.
- For vitamins and minerals, check the % Daily Value (DV) for each nutrient to make sure you’re not getting too much of it.