A dietary supplement is a product that you eat to supplement your diet with nutrients that you may not be getting from your regular meals. Supplements are meant to aid your diet, not replace it. Generally, if one eats a healthy diet, they have no need for a dietary supplement.
However, certain groups are unable to get their nutrient requirements from diets alone hence the need for supplements. These groups are pregnant women, nursing mothers, senior citizens, those with allergies, those battling illnesses and those that follow extreme diets such as veganism.
Some nutrients feel that everyone should take some dietary supplements as nutritional insurance. This is because it is difficult for most people to eat a diet that provides all the nutrients their bodies require. Read on for some of the most recommended dietary supplements you should be taking to keep healthy.
Multivitamins – The Most Popular Dietary Supplement
Multivitamins are now an established part of most people’s diets. Most people don’t eat healthily, so taking a daily multivitamin covers any nutritional gaps in one’s diet. Doctors do not see a problem with taking a daily multivitamin when you aren’t eating properly. However, they prefer if people ate a properly balanced diet. This is because nutrients from whole foods are far more superior than the manufactured ones.
If, however, a healthy diet is impossible you should take a multivitamin that is suitable for your age and situation. For example, women of childbearing age need more iron and folic acid in their diet as do pregnant women. Older men may also need more calcium for their bones as compared to younger men. Discuss your dietary needs with your doctor so that they may advise you on the best multivitamins to purchase.
Meal Replacement Supplements
Another important category of dietary supplements is meal replacement. Some people are unable to eat regular meals due to illness or weight loss restrictions. Meal replacement drinks are therefore a great alternative as they are nutrient-packed low-calorie drinks. They are easily swallowed and digested by ill people and their low-calorie content aids those seeking weight loss.
They should not be seen as a permanent replacement of regular food as they cannot meet the nutritional value of regular food. Also, those using meal replacements to lose weight have to transition into a regular calorie-controlled diet and exercise lifestyle to maintain their weight loss.
Sports Nutrition Supplements
The final category of supplements that are seen to be quite beneficial is sports supplements. Athletes need an extra amount of nutrition because they perform intense physical exercises. While their diets are also very robust it is necessary for them to supplement their diet with additional nutrients.
Additionally, some nutrients like caffeine improve the performance of athletes. It can also give you extra energy to complete grueling workouts. Creatine is also another popular supplement that is seen to increase muscle recovery and growth. Doctors advise that sports nutrition supplements should be taken carefully under instruction from a qualified medical professional.