Because healthy eating is not enough.Â
As we age, itâ€™s clear that our bodies undergo important changes. Due to these changes, the need for certain vitamins and minerals (supplements) increases. For example, as women age, the hormonal changes associated with menopause puts us at risk for bone loss. This means that we need to make an extra effort to get enough calcium. Furthermore, aging increases an individualâ€™s overall risk of being diagnosed with a chronic diseaseâ€”such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer.
Adding supplements to your diet may be a good idea if youâ€™d like to prevent these chronic diseases and provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to remain strong and live a longer, healthier life.
What are supplements?
SupplementsÂ are products which may include vitamins, herbs or minerals. They come in a variety of forms for your convenience. You donâ€™t need a prescription for supplements, as they are treated more like a special food than a drug. Â
Although most supplements are considered safe and Â typically donâ€™t have serious side effects when used correctly, itâ€™s always important to read the label. The label will contain crucial information about drug interactions, allergies and side effects for those with medical conditions. You should also consult your physician before taking any supplements, just to be on the safe side.
The Health Benefits of Supplements
They can help fix a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
One of the most popular types of supplements is the multivitamin. As the name suggests, multivitamins contain multiple vitamins and minerals. Each brand has their own formula and there are even special formulas for those over the age of 50.
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Many of us suffer from micronutrient deficiencies due to dietary restrictions (a vegetarian diet or allergies, for example), staying indoors and eating processed foods. The effects of micronutrient deficiencies vary widely, with some (such as vitamin B12) being life-threatening or causing permanent healthdamage. Often, when youâ€™re lacking nutrients, you feel very tired and have abnormal physical sensations. Multivitamin supplementation can help by filling in the gap where your diet falls short.
They Â help manage and prevent chronic illnesses
There are too many supplements on the market to list. So, letâ€™s just have a look at seven of the most popular ones and what they can do for you.
Omega-3: As we age, our risk of heart disease increases and our arteries become stiffer. We can help prevent heart disease by taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements which lower triglycerides and have antioxidant properties.
Vitamin B: We all want to remain as mentally sharp as possible, for as long as possible. Fortunately, some B vitamins (particularly vitamins B6, B9, B12 and B2) have been shown to prevent cognitive decline. They also help to protect your eyes, by preventing macular degeneration. You will also find that most multivitamin tablets contain this.
Cinnamon: Not only does cinnamon taste good, but it has many health benefits too. It helps lower blood glucose and improve sensitivity to insulin, which reduces the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes.
Curcumin: Another spice which has many health benefits is curcumin which is found in turmeric. It contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Curcumin has been shown to have anti-cancer effects, in addition to preventing heart disease and Alzheimerâ€™s disease.
Calcium: As previously mentioned, women are at risk for bone loss as they get older. But, men also experience bone loss with advancing age (just at a slower rate than women do). Taking a calcium supplement can help to maintain strong bones and may even play a role in preventing cancer and diabetes. Â
Probiotics: Often referred to as â€œgood bacteria,â€ probiotics are live bacteria found in our guts and in foods such as yogurt, milk and cheese. Research suggests that the aging gut can benefit greatly from probiotic supplements. This is because they have anti-inflammatory effects, which help in the prevention of respiratory and GI tract infections.
Melatonin: If you have trouble sleeping at night, you may benefit from a melatonin supplement. Our bodies naturally produce melatonin in response to a decrease in light. However, the light from our technological devices delays the release of melatonin, making it harder for us to fall asleep. Taking one to three milligrams of melatonin can help you Â fall asleep r. Getting enough sleep is very important, as lack of sleep has been linked to memory problems and immune system suppression.
What supplements do you take? Do you recommend any specific brands? Are there any supplements you stay away from? Why? Share your tips on our community forum with other members!
Article provided by: Helen Sanders. She is the editor-in-chief of Health Ambition, a popular and easy to understand health and nutrition site dedicated to giving real advice to real people.