Food supplements keep growing in popularity, partly due to advances in food science, medical science and the technology needed to produce and market them. The global economy is also strong, and consumers with greater purchasing power can afford to spend more on their health. Another reason for the popularity of supplements is a global demographic change. The world’s population is ageing, and those over 60 are beginning to outnumber children under 5. Senior citizens often have two things in common – they have collected some personal wealth over the years of work and their bodies are more susceptible to ailments. They need to work harder to maintain good health and alleviate or mitigate diseases, illnesses and disabilities, and this fact is one of the main drivers of the health food industry.
- What are food supplements?
The term health food covers two groups of food products – health foods and food supplements. Health foods are edible products presented in a similar way to other food, while food supplements, available only for the past few decades, can resemble pharmaceuticals, coming in tablet, capsule, gel, powder or liquid form. What differentiates health food from other food is that it not only provides the energy to sustain physical activity but provides benefits beyond what normal food can offer.
- Why should we take food supplements?
The health food groups will be treated in greater depth in the nextissue, while this article focuses moreon supplements. As consumers becomemore proactive in managing their health, they need to consider howfood supplements can help.
The previous issue discussed the importance of multivitamins and minerals in completing the nutrients needed for a given day. The next point concerned extra nutrients for particular situations, such as pregnant women who need more calcium, or those exposed to strong sunlight and air pollution who should take antioxidants to neutralize the toxicity of free radicals. After that, consumers can take food supplements for their specific needs, on a case by case basis.
- Tips for taking supplements
Thousands of food supplements areav ailable on the market, so which are best suited for us? Here are somepoints to take into consideration.
- First of all, evaluate your health needs. Food supplements fallinto the third tier of nutrient consumption, so take supplements in response to specific needs. Those over 50 may need to boost their immune system,so taking the probiotic bacteria found in yoghurt in capsule, cream or liquid form is recommended.
- And if you know youare being exposed to freeradicals or pollutants, or if youare very physically active, take more antioxidants.
- There are many supplements of varying prices on the market, so choose a reliable producer complying with FDA guidelines. Price should be less of a concern than trust in the product.