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article imageOp-Ed: A case for supplements

By Jenna Cyprus     Sep 4, 2014 in Health
“Supplements” are gaining a bad reputation among clean eaters and foodies who claim you should be getting your nutrition from whole foods. Well, obviously.
However, it’s often not feasible to eat a healthy diet that falls within your caloric range to achieve the weight and body fat you desire from foods alone. For example, someone who requires 1,500 calories per day to maintain their weight will likely find it impossible to squeeze in the recommended amount of iron, protein, calcium, magnesium, folic acid and other goodies from food alone. The reality is that 1,500 calories isn’t that much, but it’s a very feasible caloric intake for a slimmer bodied woman.
Supplements have a place in almost everyone’s diet — to “supplement” an already healthy intake. Of course pills shouldn’t be used as a total replacement every day, but they can make up for deficiencies you otherwise can’t get while sticking to a feasible diet. Getting an annual physical that includes a vitamin deficiency check sets a solid foundation. It’s how you can find major disparities. However, it likely won’t include all the possible deficiencies you could benefit from addressing.
Here are some of the most common supplements most Americans may benefit from. As always, consult with your doctor before adding a supplement to your regimen. Also remember that when you take your supplements is just as important as what you take and the quality is also a big factor.
1. Omega 3s
The average American doesn’t eat enough oily fish and/or flaxseeds in their daily diet to get their recommended amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. These are the only two sources of Omega 3s and adding an organic supplement with no additives can help with brain health. Like every other supplement in this list, there are no adverse effects assuming you take the recommended dosage.
2. Calcium
Your calcium needs vary depending on your age, weight and gender. However, many Americans don’t get enough, which becomes more dangerous as you age. It can be the cause of brittle bones, which can cause easy breaks in your golden years. Don’t wait until you’re ready for retirement to start focusing on calcium requirements.
3. Magnesium
Without magnesium, your body won’t be able to process calcium and other nutrients. Plus, a lack of magnesium can lead to poor sleep which opens up an entirely new can of worms. Magnesium is tricky to get enough of in diet alone.
4. Vitamin D
This vitamin is especially challenging for those who live in cloudy areas such as the Pacific Northwest. You can soak it up from the sun, but it’s also found in foods like green, leafy vegetables. Lack of Vitamin D is a leading cause of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), fatigue and generally feeling out of it.
5. Turmeric
Turmeric is a fantastic immunity booster and very common in Indian diets but not so much in American cuisine. If you find yourself catching every bug that goes around, try adding at least 800mg to your daily diet. You can do so by sprinkling it on just about any food, but also taking it in pill form.
6. Iron
Iron deficiencies can cause a host of problems and leave you feeling exhausted. However, iron poisoning is a very real threat. Only take iron supplements while under the care of a physician. You may need to experiment with different tablets and/or iron liquids to find the right one for you.
Use supplements wisely as a complement to a healthy diet, not a quick fix, and see what a difference they can make.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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