Using Nutritional Supplements the Right Way

Using nutritional supplements is more and more becoming an accepted fact of life and more and more being considered a perfectly acceptable way to get a more nutritious diet.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with turning to supplements, and in our busy lifestyles where we find ourselves constantly rushed from place to appointment if this is the only way to get those vitamins and minerals then so be it – it can be cheaper, easier and often a more measured way to control the things you get throughout the day. Further, if you are an athlete – a bodybuilder, a runner or any other sports man or woman – then it’s also a very good way to get those extra things you need in your diet.

If you have some kinds of special dietary requirements as a result of allergy or beliefs then this is a good way to make sure that you avoid certain things you can’t eat while still getting a balanced intake of nutrients. And some things you just can’t get from a normal diet.

However while supplementation is fine in theory – and often in fact beneficial – this is very reliant on your ability to take those supplements intelligently and correctly. If you aren’t careful with the way that you take your supplements then you may find that they don’t work at all, or even that they end up actually causing health problems instead. Here we will look at how to take your supplements smartly and how to avoid making mistakes.

Use Biofeedback

When you start taking your supplements it’s important to make sure you keep a tabs on each individual product you’re taking. The easiest way to do this is to make a ‘stack’ which is a list of everything you’re taking. A bodybuilder’s stack may consist of: creatine, whey protein shake, tribulus terrestris and amino acids.

As well as making a list of your supplements however it is also important to keep track of all the other statistics surrounding your supplements taking depending on your goals. For instance, for a bodybuilder, it would be important to keep track of precisely which supplements are taking, and to at the same time keep a note of their performance. Simply keep a diary with your stack at any given time, and write alongside what your muscle measurements are like, what your routine is like, how much energy you feel like you have and any other related statistics. This way, if you change your supplement intake, you can then note how your experiences are affected as a result. You can then correlate your performance with your supplements and you’ll know which are working and which aren’t. If you are taking supplements for health purposes or due to some kind of medical condition (such as an iron supplement to help with anaemia), then you can make a note of how you feel and of any symptoms instead. This is called ‘biofeedback’ which is the process of measuring how your body reacts to certain stimuli so that you can develop a better intuitive understanding of what works best for your body.

Consider Ingredients

However while you can simply list your supplements, it is also important to list not just the supplement, but also what actually goes into those supplements. While the name of the supplement might seem enough, it doesn’t actually tell you anything about what you are consuming. If you take a vitamin tablet, then this might contain any selection of different vitamins and there will be some that you are missing – and that you should take extra supplementation to make up for. If you take a prohormone meanwhile then you might find that it includes a range of different herbs and ingredients – any of which you might be allergic to or prefer not to take. Most of these ingredients can usually be bought separately so you can create your own miniature stack to pick and choose the ingredients you find most effective.

Another thing to consider is that if you take lots of supplements – you can sometimes risk overdosing in certain ingredients. A common example of this is that many supplements contain vitamin B12 in their composition due to its energy benefits that make you feel as though the product is ‘working’. If you don’t make a note of all the B12 in your supplements and your diet, then you can end up accidentally overdosing and this can result in nerve damage.

Consider Your Diet

Likewise you also need to consider your diet and what you are consuming. If you drink gallons of milk a day for example, then you will get a high amount of calcium already – so you won’t need to take a specific calcium tablet. If you eat a lot of green vegetables then there is no need to take extra iron.

Get a Blood Test

… Unless you have a deficiency that is. If you are concerned that this is the case and you have a low amount of B12 or iron in your blood, then a doctor will recommend a course of medication or supplementation to rectify this problem. If you are considering taking stronger supplementation such as ferrous sulphate, then you should get a blood test first.

Read the Instructions

When you take supplements it is important to read the instructions carefully and this means making sure that you find out whether you are using them optimally in the recommended manner. The instructions will likely describe many aspects of how to use the supplements and these are all important. They will generally include:

Timing: The time you take your supplements is often important. Energy supplements are often recommended for use early in the day in order to provide you with energy throughout the day. Supplements designed to help you build muscle or repair tissue will be taken usually straight after exercise or just before bed – both these are ‘anabolic’ phases for the body where it is focused on building and repairing tissue.

Other Food: Some supplements will recommend use on a full stomach or with food. This will help with the pharmacokinetics of your supplements making them more likely to be correctly absorbed and used by the body.

Loading: In some cases it is a good idea to ‘load’ your supplements. This means taking them in large quantities early on so that your body has a ‘store’ of the nutrients in the body.

Cycling: Other supplements require ‘cycling’ which means taking the supplement for a period and then going for further periods without it.

Research

While you should heed the advice on the packaging of your products however, even more important is to do your own research and to read about other ways of taking the supplement that might be more effective, what the specific ingredients do themselves, and what other people’s experiences of the supplement are. In some cases you might find information that is more geared towards your own goals, while in other cases you might even find some instructions promote miss-information in order to encourage buying. More to the point though – just understanding how supplements work will help you to get more out of them and to eat a diet conducive to their success. Be active in reading about biology, your condition, bodybuilding and whatever else is related to your supplements use – rather than passively taking the products without understanding them.

Read Reviews

As well as reading about the ingredients and understanding how they affect your body, it is also useful to simply read reviews and to make sure you are taking the best products. Reviews will tell you not just how well supplements work, but also how they taste, how they mix (in the case of shakes) and how well priced they are – all of which should affect your buying decisions.

Don’t Be Scammed

Reading reviews can also help you to avoid being scammed – but as long as you know how to spot a scam when you see one. Find a good reviews site that is well trusted and that isn’t selling any supplements itself, and read around to find a few other reviews. Meanwhile reading on forums is also a good way to find out more about your chosen supplement from objective sources and multiple opinions (if there is no information on a specific supplement available then you can always start the post yourself).

Also try and avoid highly aggressive marketing and if anything says ‘Get Ripped Abs in DAYS’ or ‘Eliminate Headaches Without Unhealthy Tablets’ then consider these red flags. Advertising from trustworthy sources won’t criticize other supplements or strategies, and they won’t make unrealistic promises. Be aware that if it sounds too good to be true – then it probably is. Be careful where you buy from, and make sure your products are vacuum packed when you receive them.

Be Consistent and Careful

You also of course need to make sure that once you have your stack and you have your routine, that you take the supplement like clockwork and are careful not to miss days or accidentally take them too much. Likewise don’t go through phases without taking the supplement and expect it still to work – it takes a while to see results and like anything you need to be consistent and careful in how you take them.

Do the Work

However no matter how good a supplement is – it won’t work on its own without you putting in the time and effort to improve your lifestyle too. If you are supplementing to try and lose weight for instance then make sure that you also put in the time to exercise and cut your food intake. If you are supplementing to try and prevent a particular health problem then make sure you also follow any of the doctor’s other recommendations. Don’t expect silver bullets that will fix all your problems on your own, but rather be willing to put in the work too. This way you will maximise the effectiveness of your supplements and get the best results for your cash.

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Nutrition Facts and Myths

Nutrition is a science that helps us to find relationship between diet and health. In order to achieve an optimal health, it’s important to follow healthy, sensible diet (involving plenty of vegetables and fruits, lean meat, and whole grains, while limiting sugar and bad fats). Healthy eating allows you to prevent certain deficiencies, such as scurvy, cancer and heart disease as well as minimizing the effects of aging.

Facts on Nutrition

A balanced diet can provide enough nutrients for your body. Nutrients keep our heart beating, brain active and muscles working, while giving us enough energy. Nutrients also help to strengthen and build tendons, muscles and bones while regulating body processes such as breathing and blood pressure.

When planning for a healthier diet, you should remember these three important facts about nutrients:

Variety

You should eat a wide variety of foods as there is no single food that can give you a complete nutrient.

Balance

A balanced diet can ensure that you have all the necessary nutrients. It is advisable to use the food guide pyramid.

Moderation

You should always use moderation. It includes moderation on the amount of calories, vitamin and minerals you take. As long you don’t overdo it, moderation allows you to eat all foods. Taking too much nutrients can be also risky and even fatal.

The fact is, to get enough nutrients and significantly reduce your chance to get diseases; all you need to do is to eat a wide variety food with balance and in moderation. Dealing with nutrition myths can be easy and fun. Eating meat and dairy products in moderation, balanced with plenty of foods derived from plants can help your reach a true nutritional excellence, a vastly improved health and a trim figure.

Myths on Nutrition

Myths on nutrition are often passed from one individual to another, often by word of mouth. To avoid misconceptions, you should take a gander at the facts and change your perspective if necessary.

Eating as many as good things is always good

Human body is a complex machine and exquisitely delicate, which is designed to work within a number of limits and restrictions. We need to maintain certain proportions and ratios, between different types of nutrients. Often too much of a good thing may tip the fine balance and cause illnesses or even death.

A little of bad things won’t hurt

Even in small doses, toxic substance may wreak havocs to your body. For example, simply by smoking one cigarette for every 8 hours, the risk of cardiovascular disease can rise up by more than 60 percent. Similarly, taking in heavy metals and common pollutants from risky foods, such as fishes taken near coastal industry areas, may cause disruption and inflammation even when taken in tiny amount. Vegetables and fruits, especially those that are grown using organic methods, can leech toxic materials stored in your body.

Foods can be dissected into carbohydrate, fats and proteins

The practice of dissecting foods apart and worrying about each of them may lead to a bizarre eating pattern. Imbalance and deficiency can happen if you chase certain nutrients at the expense of the others. It is a good idea to focus on balancing the intake of each food group. Together, they give us a complete collection of beneficial nutrients.

Omega-3 is only available in sea foods

Fishes can’t make omega-3, in fact, no animal can. Plants are the only living organisms that can produce anti-inflammatory omega-3 on their own. Cold-water salmon may contain plenty of omega-3 taken from tiny sea plants, but fishes with thick fat layer tend to accumulate more pollutants. Among the healthiest source of omega-3 is ground flax seeds, it is recommended to take about 2 tablespoons each day.

Protein is better compared to carbs and fat

It is the basis of all living organisms. Only plants can produce essential amino acids needed by animals, including human, to synthesize unique proteins needed by our body. Amino acids production requires higher metabolic energy than many animals can muster. Sun is an inexhaustible energy source (at least for the next few billions years) for the amino acid production needed by all living organisms. Animal proteins are recycled products assembled from amino acids produced by plants. Protein overdose may overwhelm kidneys and liver, perhaps sparking inflammation throughout our body. By eating a balanced mix of carbohydrate, fat and protein, your body can work optimally.

Dairy products are the best source of calcium

This statement is actually consisted of two myths. First of all, it suggests that we need to consume a special source of food to get enough calcium. Other than animals, plants also need calcium to survive, as the result you can also get calcium from whole plant foods. Plants get calcium directly from the soil and animals don’t eat soil.

Secondly, the statement suggests that cow’s milk is an essential, irreplaceable food. Many people can live healthily for many years without consuming dairy products. In fact, milk produced these days comes from pregnant animals, which means it is brimming with estrogen. When consumed regularly in large amount, it may fuel testicular, prostate, endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer. You may not need to go dairy-free, but it is highly recommended to not consume dairy products regularly and you should fill the gaps with delicious milk derived from plant sources including soy, rice, seeds, and nuts.

Supplements are the final solution for nutrient deficiency

Supplements often concentrate on one nutrient and can give you a false sense of security. Many people have nutrient-poor diet while taking in supplements. Nutrients are not consisted only of vitamins and minerals; you also need other substances such as essential amino acids, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.

White rice is bad

This myth appears due to its high carbohydrate content and people immediately associate it with diabetes. Carbohydrate is taken apart by our body into starches, fiber and of course, sugar. People can still have diabetes if they eat too much bad fat and never exercise. There are billions of people who eat rice everyday, especially in East Asia and South-East Asia and many of them live healthily.

You can trust nutrition label

Let’s get this straight, nutrition fact labels are designed to encourage buying decision and often they can be misleading. For example, manufacturers may trick you by claiming that their products are fat-free. A loop-hole in FDA’s regulation allows manufacturers to state that the product is fat-free if there is less than 0.5 gram of fat in one serving. Unfortunately, the serving size of PAM (cooking spray) is 1/3 second of spray or about 0.3 gram. As in the result, a product of food may be consisted of 700 servings of PAM. This is a significant amount of fat and the manufacturers are legally allowed to label it as “fat free”. When reading the labels you should look at the serving size, ingredients and the amount of calories per serving, while ignoring the percentage.

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Iced Tea: Good or Bad?

Brewed from the same leaves as hot teas, iced tea has the same health benefits as its warmer counterpart. Numerous studies have shown that the high levels of flavonoids and other substances in tea give it many antioxidant properties. Adding lemon juice, which contains high amounts of beneficial vitamin C and potassium, to your iced tea not only lends flavor, but can increase the health benefits as well.

Cardiovascular Benefits

According to the Harvard Health Publications website, green, black and oolong tea, all of which are used to make various iced teas, contain antioxidants that block the oxidation of LDL while increasing levels of HDL, which improves function of the arteries. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, several studies have found that drinking 24 oz. of tea a day decreases the risk of heart attack by 11 percent.

Help With Osteoporosis

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the presence of fluoride, caffeine and flavonoids in tea may help increase bone mineral density, leading to a decrease in the risk of osteoporosis. One study found a direct association between tea consumption and hip fracture, which is one of the consequences of osteoporosis.

Decreased Cancer Risk

According to the National Cancer Institute, the presence of catechins in tea may help in treating and preventing cancer. Studies performed on animals have shown that catechins can slow the growth of cancer cells as well as fight free radicals before they cause damage. These studies have also shown that catechins can reduce the size of tumors.

It is important to note, however, that studies in humans have had differing results. Some human studies have suggested the possibility that catechins can help in fighting cancer, while other human studies have produced no recognizable results.

Dental Benefits

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, fluoride levels in tea are similar to levels recommended to prevent cavities. One study found that children who drank tea had significantly fewer cavities than those who did not. Lemon juice also plays a part in the treatment of dental problems. According to the LifeMojo Website, lemon juice can prevent pain and bleeding of the gums and even helps with bad breath.

Weight-Loss Aid

Studies have shown that certain teas, especially green and oolong, may assist in weight loss, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Tea has been shown to increase the body’s energy expenditure, which plays an important part in weight reduction. Tea has also been shown to help prevent the regaining of weight after significant weight has been lost. The addition of lemon juice to tea increases the potential for weight loss.

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Benefits of Eating Slowly

We all remember being told by our parents not to gobble our food. It’s unsightly and impolite and on par with having your elbows on the table. However that’s not the only reason you’re better chewing carefully, and in fact if you don’t eat slowly there can be many negative implications on your health. Here we will have a look at what those are and why it’s so important to take the time to carefully chew your food. Maybe your parents knew what they were talking about after all…

Indigestion

If you chew slowly then you are far less likely to get indigestion and heart burn. There are several reasons for this but one of them is that you will be chewing more for each piece of food. Thus the size of the pieces going down will be smaller and your body will find it much easier to digest them – rather than feeling large chunks slide down your esophagus. Furthermore if you chew more carefully and slowly then you will be likely to swallow less air and this will also prevent you from getting indigestion as this is a common cause – if you swallow too much air then it can cause your esophageal sphincter to open allowing stomach acids to come back up and out of the stomach and into the throat or chest. Indigestion is highly important and if you chew more slowly and thoroughly then you can spare yourself a lot of pain – in fact indigestion can sometimes be so uncomfortable that it gets mistaken for heart attack, so it’s really something you want to avoid if at all possible. This will also help you to be more energetic and to not have to lie down while your energy resources are focused on helping you digest your food.

Wind

Trapped wind has several causes, but among the most prevalent is eating too quickly. When you do this you of course tend to gobble and take in big gulps and this means that you’re taking in more air than you would if you chewed more carefully. This wind can then create discomfort and flatulence.

Absorption

Chewing your food is actually the first stage of digestion and can be viewed just like digestion that occurs in the stomach. Just as your stomach contains enzymes that break down the foods your mouth also has enzymes – in the form of saliva – and these perform the same job. Part of the reason you need to break down foods is so that the minerals and vitamins can be more easily absorbed by the body into the blood stream rather than passing through unused. So if you give your stomach a helping hand in digesting the food in other words, this will mean that more of those nutrients make it into your blood stream. More vitamins, more minerals and more amino acids. In short you will benefit more from your food and have a healthier system that has more resources available to it.

Weight Loss

By eating more slowly you can help yourself to lose weight. This works through two different methods. The first is psychological – by eating slowly you chew more and this tricks your brain into thinking you’re more full. Meanwhile this allows the hormones that tell the brain your full time to do their work whereas otherwise you can stuff yourself further before the signal reaches the brain causing you to feel bloating and over-full when it does get there. Of course this also is a sure fire way to put on weight.

The other way this works is through the physical act of stretching the stomach. When our stomach is packed full this is one of the signals that tells us to stop eating – that’s why gastric bands are so successful. However if you regularly eat too much this causes your stomach to stretch and become bigger and thus in future it will take more food to make you feel completely full – and that’s the fast track to gaining weight. The great thing about eating more slowly is that it’s just as satisfying and in fact moreso; but just this simple action of taking a little longer with your food is enough to help you start losing weight or at least not put as much on.

Appreciation

As mentioned eating more slowly allows you to enjoy your food more rather than less. This is because you will get to enjoy it for longer, and because you will get to sample the tastes individually as well as together. You’ll taste more of it, and ultimately you won’t be left watching other people eat with nothing left on your plate.

Safety

Eating chunks of food that are too large will cause you to not feel full and will lead to indigestion and poor absorption. However eating chunks that are really big and doing so in a hurried way can make you far more likely to choke on a piece. This of course is quite dangerous and can be enough to even be life threatening. While that’s one risk another is that you can bite the inside of your mouth or your tongue – which is incredibly painful. In either of these instances you will find yourself rather wishing that you had eaten more slowly to begin with.

Sociability

And finally your Mother was right – eating too fast is not attractive and it can make you more likely to drop food down your front or get it stuck around your mouth which is very off putting for everyone else. Getting into the habit of eating slowly is useful for when you need to entertain clients or go on a date and in either situation it can really help you to make a great impression.

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