Ditch supplements, try natural foods instead

Nutrients from food are always better than supplements, unless deficient. Supplements can fill the nutrient gap where as natural food offers benefits over dietary supplements.

Published: 22nd September 2020 11:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2020 11:09 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: September is National Nutrition Month.  V Krishna Deepika, Clinical Dietician, Apollo Cradle, Kondapur, tells us about the need to go natural and say not to supplements for good health and nutrition.

Natural nutrients or artificial supplements?

Nutrients from food are always better than supplements, unless deficient. Supplements can fill the nutrient gap where as natural food offers benefits over dietary supplements.

Choose your food wisely
Keep a watch on labels. Avoid items that contain transfats, artificial dyes and preservatives. Ignore sugary, oily, fried, and ready-to-eat food which are high in calorie. Choose fresh fruits and healthy nuts.

How to plan a healthy meal?
Preparing a list before shopping saves time and helps to choose healthy food items. Shopping while hungry can lead to us choosing unhealthy products. A balanced plate should contain lean proteins, calories, vitamins, minerals, fats, and fibre. 
Dietary supplements are advised in case of deficiency, but caution should be exercised while taking them. Excess of water-soluble supplements gets eliminated through urine, but fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin A may build up in the system which can lead to toxicity.

No supplement can help prevent corona
Various supplements that increase immunity have come into notice during the pandemic. Unapproved supplements and products can cause dangerous side-effects. Replacing supplements with natural probiotics can help improve gut health. Natural antioxidants and polyphenols help reduce inflammation. No specific food, supplement or health product can prevent anyone from contracting Covid-19. Sometimes, a simple multi-vitamin or mineral supplement is suggested to fill the nutrient gap, but they are not substitutes for natural food. 

Natural sources
Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid plays a crucial role in building immunity. It acts as a powerful antioxidant and protects body against severe infections like acute respiratory distress and common cold. As per ICMR, RDA of vitamin c is 40mg/day. High doses of vitamin C has shown a significant improvement in the treatment of corona positive patients. Good sources of this vitamin are Amla (100 gram has 600mg), guava (212mg), lemon (39mg), papaya (57mg), drumstick leaves (220mg), cabbage (124mg), coriander leaves (135mg) and green chillies(111mg). 

Vitamin D: RDA for vitamin D is 400 IU per day. Vitamin D plays an important role in maintenance of optimal health. The most inexpensive way of getting vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Other sources are egg yolk (218 IU), cheese (24 IU), fortified foods like orange juice and cereals.

Magnesium: RDA for magnesium is 350 micrograms/day. Magnesium promotes positive mood. Deficiency can lead to decreased serotonin production, which increases stress in the body. Nuts, seeds, whole grains and low fat dairy are some of the good sources of magnesium. Cereals, pulses and nuts contain 40-200 mg magnesium per 100gram. 

Zinc: As per RDA 12mg/day of zinc is required. Zinc deficiency makes body more susceptible to respiratory infections. The best dietary sources of zinc are cashews (5.6mg), peanuts (3.3mg), pumpkin seeds (7.9mg), flaxseeds (4mg) and oats ( 3mg). 

Omega 3 fatty acids: Helps to reduce inflammation. Instead of supplements, opt for natural sources. Rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids include green leafy vegetables, walnuts, soya bean, flax seeds and chia seeds.

Antioxidants: Helps neutralise free radicals which cause cell damage. Ginger, garlic, turmeric, oats, soyabean, pepper and clove are the sources.


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