Men's Articles

Be Supplement Savvy


Do you know what supplements can do for you? Or when too much may not be such a good thing? Read on before you pop that pill. A diet rich in nutrients is key to good health. Combining a well-balanced diet with supplements will help you maintain good health. When taking supplements though, remember to read the labels, avoid taking too many supplements at the same time and don't use them as an alternative to a healthy diet.

Vitamins

In general, all vitamins are essential for your health. Vitamins are usually divided into two groups: those that are water-soluble, such as B and C; and those that are fat soluble, such as A, D, E and K. Water-soluble vitamins should be taken daily, as they cannot be stored in the body and are easily excreted. Fat soluble vitamins are stored for longer periods of time in the body's tissues and so are not required as frequently as water-soluble vitamins.

The important thing to note with vitamins is not to over-consume. After all, your body already produces many of them, although in limited amounts. Fats-oluble vitamins like A and D, for example, can be toxic when taken in excessive amounts. As for the Vitamin B family, it is best to take them all together as part of a balanced formulation, commonly known as B-Complex. Vitamin C requires small daily intakes. And with just 20 minutes of direct sunshine three times a week, your body can produce its own supply of Vitamin D.

Minerals

Minerals are essential for the normal activity of muscles and the balance of fluid in the body and tissues. Unlike some vitamins, minerals cannot be produced in the body and have to come from the food we eat. Trace minerals, such as iodine, iron, manganese, chromium and selenium are needed in small quantities, whereas macrominerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium are needed in daily amounts greater than 100mg.

A balanced intake of minerals can be found through a wide range of foods, preferably those that are organically grown. Seafood is an excellent source of iodine. Avoid white flour and sugar, from which the mineral content has been removed, and caffeine and alcohol, which tend to deplete mineral content. Note, too, that excessive intake of calcium might increase the risk of calcium deposition into soft tissues, reduce zinc and iron absorption and impair vitamin K metabolism. Excess iron might also increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Essential Fatty Acids

There are two basic categories of essential fatty acids: linoleic acid (Omega 3), found in raw nuts, seeds and legumes; and alphalinolenic acid (Omega 6), found in fish oil and some vegetable oils like canola and flaxseed. Essential fatty acids are needed for the normal growth of cell membranes and balanced hormone levels. They keep the skin and other tissues in good condition, and contribute towards the energy held in fat stores.

 

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