Dietary Supplements – Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
By Dr Karen Vieira, PhD

There are many elements that piece together a healthy lifestyle. Most people who are interested in optimizing their health understand the need to consume a balanced diet high in unprocessed, fresh whole foods as well as getting an adequate amount of exercise. Getting enough sleep and avoiding unhealthy practices, like smoking and taking drugs, are also important for good health.

For most people, taking nutritional supplements is also an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Even if you are eating well, there are still many factors out of your control that can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which can contribute to the development of chronic diseases. By identifying potential problems and gaps in your diet and addressing them with the right supplements, you can promote long-term health and help prevent many health issues that many people face today.

The increase in cancer, diabetes and heart disease has also been linked to dietary deficiencies. But the problem is not only limited to people’s choice of processed, nutrient-poor foods.

Even fruits and vegetable, which are among the most nutrient-rich foods, have relatively less nutrient content than they have had in the past. The soils that these foods are grown in have been depleted of many of their nutrients and the chemical fertilizers used to replace them comparatively add only a small proportion of lacking minerals back into the soil. Herbicides and pesticides that are used on today’s crops also lead to a lack of important nourishment absorption into the plants.

Choices like canned foods also lead to a lack of nutrients. On a scale of best to worst, fresh foods would rank best, frozen foods next, and canned foods would rank last as the worst as far as nutrient content. Fact: processed grains have up to 99% of their minerals removed – so we can easily see that processed foods are really the worst source of nourishment.

In our modern world, very few people grow their own organic foods at home. As a result of our lifestyles, food must be brought from farms that are often hundreds or thousands of miles away. Travel time and time spent sitting on the grocery shelves deplete valuable nutrients in our food. Between the low-mineral soils, the pesticide application, the travel time, and the processing of our food, it is no surprise that studies show a deficiency of essential nutrients in people’s diets.

Most people are born lacking essential vitamins and minerals, as well as possessing deficiencies inherited from their parents. Therefore, taking supplements to help support your diet and lifestyle is a wise choice for everyone – from young children to the elderly. Plus, the air and water pollution we are exposed to in everyday life is a large contributor to free-radical damage in our bodies. Taking antioxidant supplements can help prevent cancers that may form from the resultant damage. Fibre supplements are also a good choice for most people.

Nutritional supplements are a way of helping to maintain a balanced body and healthy lifestyle. The key to knowing which supplement is best for you is to understand the natural bodily role of their particular components. With the thousands of nutritional supplements available for our disposal, an individual cannot consume all at one go! The best thing to do is to take the nutrients that have the most overall benefit for you and your particular health situation, making sure that you check the recommended healthy amount advised for daily consumption.