Life is often so busy and stressful that it is impossible not to suffer from nutritional deficiency. To live a healthy life, you need to have a balanced diet. A balanced diet is one that has a balanced amount of all the macro nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats). Nowadays, nobody has enough time to maintain a balanced diet.
Nutritional supplements are products that provide a balance of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutrients. Nutritional supplements are consumed for many reasons. They can be taken to improve overall body health, to boost the immune system, to reduce the risk of catching diseases, to improve the health and performance of bodybuilders and athletes, and to help children with irregular food intake patterns maintain a healthy body weight. Nutritional supplements are very popular throughout the world and in the United States alone, they account for about a $19.8 billion market value.
Vitamins are essential for a healthy life:
Nutritional supplements provide the right amount of vitamins that your body requires each day. Vitamins are micro nutrients that are required by the body to maintain a healthy metabolism. Vitamins are present in citrus fruits and many other foods. However, the vitamin content of most foods is considerably lowered when the food is overcooked because most of the vitamins are easily destroyed by heat. Wheat contains vitamins, but when the wheat is industrially processed to form wheat flour, its vitamin content is lowered.
If vitamins are not supplied in adequate amounts through the diet then the person suffers from deficiency diseases, such as a deficiency of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which causes scurvy. Scurvy is characterized by the bleeding and ulceration of gums. Therefore, nutritional supplements are taken to provide adequate amounts of vitamins.
Nutritional supplements are used to supply an appropriate amount of minerals. Like vitamins, minerals are micro nutrients which are required in small amounts to maintain a normal body metabolism. Minerals, if not supplied in adequate amounts through your diet, lead to deficiency diseases. Deficiency of iron leads to anemia, as iron is a constituent of Heme prosthetic group which is present in hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible for the transport of oxygen from the lungs to of the rest of the body. Minerals are also important because they act as co enzymes which are needed for the normal activity of cellular enzymes. Minerals are also important for maintaining a healthy and elastic epithelium.
Herbal supplements are used for nutritional and medicinal purposes. Herbal supplements containing extracts of Gingko biloba are particularly popular. Gingko biloba is an herb that is known to stimulate micro circulation throughout the body. The use of certain herbal supplements together with moderate exercise has proven to be effective in losing weight.
Often, nutritional supplements are used as a meal substituent or to fortify meals. Meal supplements are popular with people who are suffering from diseases that affect the efficiency of the digestive tract. Meal supplements are available for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian individuals. They contain an appropriate amount of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients.
Sports nutrition supplements:
Athletes require increased amounts of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients because their dietary requirements are higher than that of other individuals. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Hence, sports supplements are specially formulated to supply increased amounts of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Other nutritional supplements:
These include nutrient dense foods such as brewer’s yeast, bee pollen, fish oils like cord liver oil, psyllium seed husk, wheat germ, spirulina, wheat grass, and colostrums. These supplements are used for special purposes. For example, supplements containing psyllium seed husk are used for cleansing and maintaining a healthy digestive tract.