pinterest Save

Should you take supplements?

We all know the modern diet lacks in adequate nutrition, yet even the most health-conscious vegans struggle to avoid the processed foods and empty calories of busy grab-and-go lives. No wonder over half of all Americans take dietary supplements. But are these products really essential for good health?

Consider the following myths and facts that may help you decide whether supplements are right for you: 

Myth: You should take supplements every day.
Fact: A well-balanced diet provides the nutrients you need. 
Do you eat the recommended five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables every day? Most don’t, which is why diets are lacking in vitamins and minerals. Instead of taking supplements, Harvard Medical School advises eating a balanced diet with a variety of whole grains, fruit and vegetables that are nutrient-dense. Plants also contain phytonutrients — with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that help prevent cancer and heart disease — that you can’t get from a pill.

Myth: Supplements are a quick fix for a bad diet. 
Fact: Nothing can replace a wholesome diet.
“You need to look at [supplements] as a tool, something you take on top of eating right,” says dietitian Joan Salge Blake, a professor at Boston University. When you get most of your nutrition from healthy foods, your body effectively absorbs what it needs. But, with supplements it’s easy to get more than you need, which can be harmful to your health.

Myth: Supplements are totally safe.
Fact: Taking too many can be harmful.
When you take more nutrients than you need, the body stores them as fat and they aren’t excreted. They can accumulate and become toxic. For example, excess vitamin A can increase your risk for osteoporosis. Always check the nutrition label to ensure nutrients provide only from 100% to 300% of the daily recommended value (the nutrients at 300% are ones that aid in absorption). And because supplements can have side effects if taken with medicines (Vitamin K can reduce the ability of blood thinners to work) or before surgery, consult with your doctor before taking them. 

Myth: Supplements can cure disease.
Fact: They can’t cure but they may prevent.
“There’s little evidence that any supplement can reverse the course of any chronic disease,” says Dr. Craig Hopp, an expert in botanicals research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Don’t take supplements with that expectation.” (Take the myth that mega-doses of vitamin C cure the common cold: Actually, over 180 mg of C just washes away through the urine.) However, the NIH does link supplements to prevention of disease, if they are part of “a healthful diet that is low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, with a high proportion of plant-based foods.”

Myth: Supplements are regulated like drugs.
Fact: They’re treated as food, not drugs.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (1994) created a category for dietary supplements, regulated by the FDA as food. This means they don’t undergo the same strict approval process as drugs, and cannot claim to treat, prevent, or cure disease. Furthermore, the FDA does not monitor ingredients or accuracy of labels. If a product is later found unsafe, the FDA can restrict or ban it.One thing for certain: You’re safe with a well-balanced, plant-based diet — and Veestro makes it easy with organic entrées delivered to your door.  

Learn more about Probiotics - Your Best Friend Around the Holidays.

Sources:Dietary Supplements: Do They Help or Hurt?Harvard Health PublishingDebra Witt, “5 Myths about Nutritional Supplements,” NextAvenueShould You Take Dietary Supplements?NIH News in HealthMissy Wilkinson, “Common Myths You Shouldn’t Believe about Vitamins and Supplements,” Thrillist

Veestro.com

Related Blog Posts

an easy approach to reducing your risk of breast cancer

foods that help your body produce collagen naturally

why does magnesium matter? 5 magnesium-rich foods

3 simple tips for losing weight starting today

deaths linked to heart disease are on the rise: here’s how a plant-based diet can help

your second brain - tips for a healthier gut

microwaves and nutrition: do microwaves kill our food?

eat these 5 foods to stay hydrated this summer

allergic to soy? these are 7 non-soy sources of protein

think fresh meals are better than frozen? think again!

what 1,500 calories looks like on a plant-based diet

your sugar detox guide

are you vitamin d deficient?

here’s what happens to your body on a juice cleanse

war on waste: are fresh veggies healthier than frozen?

got milk? the dairy industry’s mass deception

what happens to your body when you go vegan?

how easily can the pope go vegan?

supercharge your sex life

is it possible to prevent and reverse disease?

5 ways plants power us in 2019

detox your body

eating healthy doesn’t have to be scary - 5 simple tips

the most unusual facts about berries

can you get enough protein from plants?

5 foods you should never eat

spotlight on: activated charcoal

5 superfoods for women's health

ancient remedies we use today

five magnesium-rich foods for stress relief

why detox?

10 ways to sneak in more veggies

high fiber foods you can snack on

myth vs fact: 5 things you didn't know about vitamin c

plant-based aphrodisiacs that work

5 heart-healthy foods

8 underrated veggies & why you should be eating them

probiotics - your best friend around the holidays

5 winter superfoods for more energy

5 easy ways to detox after overindulging

holiday spotlight: pumpkin

the key benefits of juicing

should you take supplements?

veggie anatomy 101: carrots

is plant-based good for kids?

good carbs vs. bad carbs

food facts: tomatoes

frozen vs. fresh: know your veggies

10 seasonal superfoods

5 summer foods to keep you hydrated

how much water should you really drink?

plant foods that boost your energy

stone fruit: five favorites for summer

men's health month: five plant-based benefits for men

5 protein-packed veggies

10 foods that boost your brain

five concerns about plant-based calories

vitamin d: essential like the sun

is soy good or bad for men?

12 foods to keep your heart happy

the sweet truth about sugar: myths and facts

get grounded with this winter superfood

5 winter squashes you need for better health right now

halloween inspired veggies to help you live longer

fat vs. sugar: the battle rages on

the soybean saga: myths and facts

5 reasons to fall in love with kale all over again

five reasons to get your calcium from plants

top reasons to have an apple a day

meeting your nutritional needs with veestro

just how important is breakfast?

food facts: watermelon

plant based protein to keep you satisfied

the truth behind antioxidants and food

do you get enough energy from your food?

is it a flower or a vegetable: discover the artichoke

6 foods that help reduce inflammation

grains to protect your immune system this winter

linking breast cancer and diet

nih guide: how to lower blood pressure with a dash eating plan

stop the madness! treat heart disease with a healthy diet -- not drugs!

want to lower your cholesterol? a pill is not a magic bullet!

are you at risk for heart disease?

can eating more veggies save your eyesight?

don't have breakfast without one of these three!