Take a trip to your favorite supermarket and you’re sure to find the aisle horded with nutritional supplements fighting tooth and nail for your attention. Some come in fun shapes and some are tasty and gummy (and probably spiked with sugar). Some promise all the nutrients you need in one tablet and others might include probiotics or natural herbs. They’re all different in some ways and the same in others. But one thing is certain—nutritional supplements are becoming more and more a part of everyday life.
But are they right for you? And why are they important? Take a quick look below for a few reasons why nutritional supplements are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
1. Fills Nutritional Gaps
You live a busy, fast-paced life. Between work, family, friends, and just trying to find a relaxing moment to yourself, there’s little time for exercise and healthy habits. Nutritious meal prep takes time, money, and know-how. Though an aspiration certainly worthy of pursuing, modern lifestyles are often at odds with achieving health-related goals.
It makes sense to complement the healthiest diet you can realistically manage with nutritional supplements. Varieties of supplements can be found for nearly every nutrient you can think of. They’re an effective and convenient way to fill the nutritional gaps in your healthy lifestyle.
2. Ensures High-Potency Nutrition
This is important. Nutritional authorities often establish recommended nutrient levels on labels based solely on the amount needed to avoid deficiency. But these amounts aren’t at levels research shows can help make a difference in your long-term health. Supplements provide a higher amount of key nutrients per serving for your optimal levels.
That’s not all. Supplements can provide a balanced ratio of several key nutrients. And though it may be tempting to pick and choose your nutrients, the relationship between them can be complex. Some may be affected by others. For instance, iron and copper work better together. You need enough of one for the other to be used correctly in the body. Choosing a supplement that provides a comprehensive blend of nutrients can help you take in the right ratio for your body.
3. Provides Hard-to-Find Nutrients
Some important nutrients are simply hard to find in common foods. Supplements are a great way to have a consistent source of these nutrients.
Probiotics are essential to support healthy digestion and a diverse gut microflora. But they are typically only found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, pickles, miso, and kombucha. Probiotic supplements come in many forms and can often be mixed into your normal meals to provide a boost that balances your belly.
Omega-3 fatty acids support a wide variety of important health functions like cardiovascular and cognitive health. They come mostly from fatty fish and some nuts and plant oils. A daily fish-oil supplement will ensure your body has all the omega-3s it needs to thrive.
Glucosamine plays a vital role to build cartilage and support overall joint health. But it’s only found in shellfish shells, animal bones, and some fungi. As such, it’s nearly impossible to make glucosamine a consistent part of your diet without a glucosamine supplement.
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” supports heart health, metabolism, and the absorption of calcium. Your own body synthesizes it when your skin is exposed to sunlight. But for some people, sunlight can be hard to find during winter months or if they work inside all day. Along with food sources like fish, eggs, yogurt, mushrooms, and some fortified foods, many choose to take a nutritional supplement to absorb plenty of this valuable vitamin, regardless of the season.
Are Nutritional Supplements Right for You?
Before making a nutritional supplement part of your daily routine, always check with your physician.
And for more information on the health benefits of nutritional supplements, check out this article.
Written by Taylor Pulver