Nutrients from food vs supplements. What’s better?
Is it better to get your nutrients from food or from supplements? This is a huge debate on this and here are some points to consider. Supplements were never intended to replace foods. They help you to fill in dietary gaps. Targeted usage of supplements can bring better health overall.
Some people tend to think that if they pop a multi-vitamin supplement every day, they can get away with chips, soda and other such unhealthy food that’s not rich in nutrients. However, fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and healthy fats are still the foundation of a wholesome diet.
Why do you need supplements when you get older?
As you get older, your body’s capacity to absorb nutrients from food goes down. This is where supplements help. For example, statistics show that 10% to 30% of seniors cannot digest and absorb natural vitamin B-12 from food. Therefore, those over the age of 50 must take B-12 as a supplement as it’s a vitamin essential for red cell formation.
Pregnant women or women thinking about getting pregnant may need supplements, for instance extra folic acid. Prenatal vitamins are a segment of multi-vitamins that have been carefully formulated to cater to the increased demand for micronutrients during pregnancy. Vitamin D also needs to be taken throughout the pregnancy. Doctors may also prescribe other supplements as needed.
Watch what you are eating
Today, vitamins and minerals are being added to a more foods and that includes breakfast cereals and beverages. In case you're also taking supplements, you might be getting more of certain nutrients than you need. This could prove harmful.
Avoid overdosing on supplements
It’s better not to self-prescribe supplements but consult a doctor on the ones you need. Use them as prescribed, as overdosing can do more harm than good. Excess intake of calcium for instance increases the risk of getting cancer and can also result in kidney stones.
The conclusion is use supplements judiciously to derive the best benefits.