Diet and Nutrition
The diet an individual follows is supposed to provide all the nutrients that are needed by the body to function and stay healthy. A lack of required amount of nutrients can cause disharmony within the body resulting in weakness and health problems. The dietary nutritional requirement may differ for individuals. Age, gender and lifestyle are all contributing factors to the nutritional requirement of each individual. An athlete’s nutritional requirement may be very different from that of somebody who has a sedentary job.
If a person’s diet contains enough calories for normal activities then he does not need extra supplementing. If the diet contains multiple servings of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products as well as adequate sources of protein, including fish or other seafood a couple times a week, then he or she is probably at least meeting the recommendations (RDA/AIs) for essential nutrients.
When a person falls short of these essential nutrients or requires help for the kind of activities he undertake, a supplement can be taken to meet basic needs to prevent deficiency and to support general health. A deficiency of nutrients like Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B or essential fatty acids can necessitate the use of supplements. Intolerance to certain foods, allergies and simply an imbalance in eating habits can lead to deficiencies that can only be met with nutritional supplements.
What should you know before you choose a supplement
Before buying a supplement, you must know the requirement of the supplement. Do you need to meet vitamin deficiencies, build muscles or develop immunity? The need or cause of taking a supplement must be amply clear so that you can pick the right supplement to support the needs of your body.
There are a lot of supplements that are advertised for sale online. There can even be friends who recommend you to supplements that they are taking. However, always consult a certified nutritionist before you take a supplement. You can get a blood test done and check for any kind of deficiency you might have – like vitamin D, calcium or potassium.
A doctor or a sports nutritionist can give you the best advice regarding this according to your age, gender and lifestyle.
If you are engaged in bodybuilding or athletic activities, your requirement to build strength and muscles will need certain kinds of supplements. If you are someone who is into Yoga, Pilates or dance, your requirements may again be different. Nutritional requirements differ for everyone and that’s why it is critical to take advice from an expert in the field of nutrition or at least purchase things recommended by a validated certified source. Some supplements have the nutrients that help burn fat but consuming a certain supplement only for fat loss doesn’t help or using it only for fat loss may be a wrong because it may not help the body’s fat burning capacity in isolation. A good fat loss program includes exercises, a well balanced diet and a good supplement that can add to the muscle building quality and aid fat loss too.Always be aware of marketing gimmicks and ask an expert before you pick a certain supplement.
What are Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods?
Food and Nutrition have gone through enormous research and modification over the years. Today we have access to the best foods, which can be consumed with full knowledge and awareness under expert guidance to get the most out of foods. While the war against sugar, sodium and saturated fats has been present for a while today, nutritionists and dieticians have moved on to acknowledge what must be eaten rather than only what is needed to be avoided.
Acknowledging the importance of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods has became the norm and almost a way of life for many today. The presence of nutritional supplements in Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods aids maintain not just a balanced diet but adds up the missing ingredients in the contemporary lifestyle.
Nutraceuticals are foods that have substances that promote better health and supports disease prevention. Functional Foods are foods in which Nutraceuticals are found and may be enhanced or modified with an extra nutrient. Nutraceuticals are substances like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Calcium, minerals, substances as genestein, capsaicin, allium compounds, carotenoids (for example, lutein, lycopene, and zeathanxin) phytosterols, glucosamine, catechins (such as EGCG), fiber – psyllium, oat bran. A good example is that of Vitamin C which a Nutraceutical – an essential nutrient that helps build collagen, stimulates antioxidant properties and prevents a number of degenerative disorders. Vitamin C is present in oranges and lemons; orange juice fortified with the power of calcium is an excellent example of Functional Food.
The market is packed with supplements of all sorts that support health, build immunity strengthen bones, build muscles and even strengthen the gut. Vitmin D capsules, Fish Oils Capsules, Vitamin C soft gels, Omega 3, Whey Protein Powders, Creatine Powders and Amino Acid tablets are a few of the many nutritional supplements that one might need to work on a specific body function or a mix of different kinds of supplements.
Nutritional Supplements help make up for the lack of these nutrients for those who have a demanding fitness routine or for those who simply wish to take a more holistic wellness approach to health and prevent serious health problems caused by nutrient deficiencies.
Author – Krupa Parekh
Krupa is a dietician and nutritionist based in Mumbai and consults at our Andheri West Centre for our clients in Diabetes and Obesity Management, Detoxification therapy and specializes in creating bespoke Nutrition plans for kids, teenagers and adults by integrating correct food habits around one’s lifestyle. Read more about Krupa here – http://www.wellintra.com/diet-and-nutrition/.