Health and Wellness Info
What You Need to Know
The majority of adults in the United States take one or more dietary supplements either every day or occasionally. Some of them are backed by solid research; others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea.
Today’s dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other products. Dietary supplements come in a variety of forms: traditional tablets, capsules, and powers, as well as drinks and energy bars.
The Dietary Supplement Label
All products labeled as a dietary supplement carry a Supplement Facts panel that lists the contents, amount of active ingredients per serving, and other added ingredients (like fillers, binders, and flavorings). The manufacturer suggests the serving size, but you or your health care provider might decide that a different amount is more appropriate for you.
If you don’t eat a nutritious variety of foods, some supplements might help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients. However, supplements can’t take the place of the variety of foods that are important to a healthy diet.
Scientific evidence shows that some dietary supplements are beneficial for overall health and for managing some health conditions. For example, calcium and vitamin D are important for keeping bones strong and reducing bone loss; folic acid decreases the risk of certain birth defects; and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils might help some people with heart disease. Other supplements need more study to determine their value. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not determine whether dietary supplements are effective before they are marketed.
Dietary supplements are complex products. The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements to help ensure their identity, purity, strength, and composition. These GMPs are designed to prevent the inclusion of the wrong ingredient, the addition of too much or too little of an ingredient, the possibility of contamination, and the improper packaging and labeling of a product. The FDA periodically inspects facilities that manufacture dietary supplements.
In addition, several independent organizations offer quality testing and allow products that pass these tests to display their seals of approval. These seals of approval provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.
What Can Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Do for Your Health?
When the food on the plate falls short and doesn’t include essential nutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, some of the nutrients many Americans don’t get enough of, a supplement can help take up the nutritional slack. Vitamin and mineral supplements can help prevent deficiencies that can contribute to chronic conditions.
Who Needs Vitamin and Mineral Supplements?
Anyone whose diet lacks the nutrients needed for good health may benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements. In general, the consumer should consult their doctor or a registered dietitian when deciding if they need a supplement.
SPORTS NUTRITION INFO
Whether you are a bodybuilder, a professional athlete or simply exercising to improve your health, sports nutrition plays a key role in optimizing the beneficial effects of physical activity. Making better decisions with your nutrition and hydration can result in improved performance, recovery and injury prevention.
Nutrition professionals offer a range of services to support your health and sporting goals. This can range from a daily food diary, to a comprehensive food and nutrition plan for training and competitions.
The importance of sports nutrition
Consuming the right balance of food and drink is important for everyone. Yet those actively participating in sport on a regular basis need to be aware that it can also affect their performance. Athletes, for example, may need more calories than the average person. So if you’re an athlete, or simply someone who’s made the decision to start exercising on a regular basis, you shouldn’t let a good nutrition plan fall down on your list of priorities.
Sports performance and energy
Fats, protein and carbohydrates all provide your body with fuel to maintain energy. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel used by working muscles. Adequate intake is essential for preventing muscle fatigue. While you should monitor your fat intake, you should not remove it from your diet completely. Fats provide fatty acids that can be used as a source of energy – especially if your exercise sessions last longer than one hour. Fats also provide the building blocks for hormones and formation of cell walls. Protein can be used as a source of energy and is critical for building new muscle tissue. If you are taking part in resistance training, your body will require additional protein.
It’s crucial to stay hydrated when you are taking part in sports. Inadequate fluid intake leads to dehydration. This affects your performance; and can be dangerous for your health too. Although dehydration can happen in any activity, it’s more prevalent when exercising in hot and humid conditions. Water is perfect for rehydration, but if you are engaged in physical activity for longer than one hour, sports drinks that include electrolytes can be helpful.
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