Health Foods – Natural Supplements to Healthy Living

As we forge our way into the 21st century, we become ever more aware of the need for a healthy lifestyle in an increasingly hostile and toxic environment. We shun over processed and chemically swamped foods, smoking or drinking in excess. We exercise regularly and try to avoid stress and follow a healthy, balanced diet. And we feel all the better for it. For all this, we often lack one or more of the essential building blocks of overall good health and it is these deficiencies that health food supplements can address.

Why, you ask, would you need supplements when you eat right to start off with? Unfortunately, the truth is that most of the soil our foods are grown in is deficient in many of the important minerals needed for optimum health, so even organic foods are often nationally lacking. It is these gaps in the nutritional chain that can be filled by taking health food supplements.

With huge selections of manufacturer ranges available, the choice of which supplements to take is often daunting. A solid starting point is to shop for ingredients, rather than brands or specific supplements. A good place to start looking is with the so called Green Foods. Most suppliers carry dedicated green foods selections all rich in a variety of minerals, vitamins and amino acids, but more importantly all packed with chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is the essential molecular component is responsible for life giving photosynthesis. Using the suns energy to synthesise carbohydrates from water and carbon dioxide, chlorophyll is the basis of all plant life. Chlorophyll also shares some surprising characteristics with haemoglobin found in red blood cells, the main difference being chlorophylls central magnesium atom in contrast to haemoglobins iron atom.

In the human bloodstream, chlorophyll magnesium bond is broken down and causes a spontaneous absorption of heavy metals. Chlorophyll also halts bacterial growth, removes drug deposits, neutralizes toxins (including radiation) and can even prevent bad breath and body odor. It promotes good intestinal flora, encourages enzyme growth that produces vitamins A, K and D, reduces high blood pressure and can reverse anemia. If that weren’t enough of an impressive resume chlorophyll also helps renew tissue and blood, boosts the immune system and can act as a mild diuretic. All things considered, chlorophyll is pretty powerful medicine. The following green food products are all chlorophyll rich.

Wheat Grass Juice
Alfalfa
Barley Grass
Spirulina
Chlorella
Wild Blue-Green Algae

Other health food supplements families worth looking at are:

Probiotics: These are bugs! Good bugs mind you, as they are essential to good gastrointestinal health. Micro-flora are destroyed by antibiotics, alcohol, stress, drug intake and high fat diets so its a good idea to take them as health food supplements.

Enzymes: Essential to almost all or bio-chemical processes, enzymes are also easily depleted by deficient diets and should be considered as a regular health food supplement.

Essential Fatty Acids: EFAs play an important role in cellular health and have been proven to be great cardio-vascular health boosters. Common sources of EFAs are cold water fish oil extracts and Flax Seed oil. Supplements rich in EFAs should be a part of any health food supplement regimen.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Although not strictly a health food supplement, ACV is considered to be one of natures most perfect foods. It is rich in potassium and calcium, phosphorus, iron, fluorine contains masses of micro nutrients. ACV should be strongly considered as a part of your health food supplement shopping list.

Antioxidants: Antioxidants destroy cell damaging free radicals and are essential to overall good health. Popular sources of antioxidants are coenzyme Q10, pyncnogenol and grape seed extract.

Garlic: Garlic can combat abdominal obstructions, parasites, worms, bad bacteria and increase circulation. It is also useful for general detoxification. Health food supplements containing garlic extracts should also be strongly considered.

So whether you are following a generally healthy diet or not, health food supplements can go a long way to bolstering your intake of essential nutrients. One just has to keep in mind that these are only supplements and can never replace a healthy diet.

Health Supplements – How to Ensure You Are Getting a Quality Product

Reading between the lines of many health supplement labels is this caveat:

WARNING: This label may be misleading the public. Supplement facts represented on this label may be inaccurate or other valuable information withheld in order for this product to attract more selling value. Labels in the health supplement industry are often misleading. The FDA has limited oversight on health supplements. High profits in this lucrative industry has attracted all kinds of manufacturers, many using inferior raw materials, negligent production practices, inaccurate labeling and false claims to sell their products. The industry is so large and expanding that all kinds of manufacturers can make a niche for themselves in this highly profitable sector.How can you make a wise choice for a quality health supplement product? First, let’s understand what a health supplement is.

What is a Health Supplement?

Health supplements are dietary supplements defined by Congress in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, 1994 as being, “a product (other than tobacco) taken by mouth that contains a dietary ingredient intended to supplement the diet. The dietary ingredients in these products may include: vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites.” These supplements can be in various forms such as capsules, tablets, soft-gels, gel-caps, powders, liquids, or even bars. They can be used for many different purposes such as lowering cholesterol, increasing energy, supporting immune health, weight loss, weight/muscle gain, for overall well-being, or other health-benefiting reasons. These products are sold at health food stores, grocery stores, drug stores, national discount chains, mail-order and Internet.

The Choice

Choosing from a myriad of health supplements can be a daunting task for a consumer. For any particular health concern, most health supplements all promise the same benefit, all have the same, if not similar ingredients. So how do you choose? Some of them even make tall, incredible health claims and only a few of them carry any precautionary warnings. Here are a few guidelines to go by when choosing a health supplement.

The Credibility of the Manufacturer: Choose a manufacturer that has credibility. A GMP-certified company is a good start. GMP certified company would entail that strict manufacturing systems are in place at every stage of production.
Ensure Credibility: Search the web for the company’s history and reputation. Does the website contain their contact information? Can you talk to them over the phone or through live assistance on their website for any queries you may have?
Quality: In order to be effective, a health supplement must be of the highest possible quality. Quality varies widely because there are no quality standards in the health supplement industry. Factors to quality are:
Physician Formulated Products: Look for products that have been physician formulated by a well-known doctor, not just accredited by a doctor.
Research and Development. Check whether the company has a research and development team. This means they have conducted various tests and trials on the product to ensure safety and effectiveness of ingredients, including whether the end product is of the highest purity and potency value.
Labels: The FDA requires that certain information appear on the dietary supplement label. Look for these:
Name of product (including the word “supplement” or a statement that the product is a supplement)
Net quantity of contents
Name and place of business of manufacturer, packer, or distributor
Directions for use
In certain cases, a disclaimer: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
A Supplement Facts panel that lists:
Serving size, list of dietary ingredients, amount per serving size (by weight), percent of Daily Value (%DV), if established
If the dietary ingredient is a botanical, the scientific name of the plant or the common or usual name standardized in the reference Herbs of Commerce, 2nd Edition (2000 edition) and the name of the plant part used
If the dietary ingredient is a proprietary blend (i.e., a blend exclusive to the manufacturer), the total weight of the blend and the components of the blend in order of predominance by weight
Try not to make the price of the product a deciding factor. There are many cheaper products available in the market but in the long run your health will benefit from a product from a reliable manufacturer.
Tall health claims: If the product makes incredulous claims that seem too good to be true, use your discretion. Avoid such products.
Expiration date. Dietary supplements should carry an expiration date as they can lose potency over time.
Educate yourself. Study the ingredients on the internet. Visit reliable sites that will give you accurate information on the ingredients in the product. Some of the ingredients may be safe to use, but have precautions for use not mentioned on the label.
Precautions: If you are taking medications, be aware that herbal supplements may interact adversely with them. If you are under 18 or over 65 be aware that herbal supplements may not have been tested on your age group.
Check with your doctor before taking any health supplements.

Health Food Supplements Promise Increased Wellbeing

One of every three people in the world is suffering from Protein- Energy Malnutrition (PEM) or micronutrient malnutrition also known as “hidden hunger”. Like several nutritionists and doctors, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have admitted that modern diets should be complemented with vitamins, minerals and other health supplements to tackle ill-health.

Studies and research conducted in almost every country has proven that several nutrients are lost or reduced on consuming fast-food and convenience-food. With the growing awareness on different types of diseases and deficiencies, a marked increase has been recorded in the consumption of functional foods, super foods, fortified foods, dietary supplements and probiotics. Sale of vitamins – C, D, E and B complex, drinkable yoghurts, energy bars, ready-to-eat salads, fortified juices and drinks in addition to bottled mineral water has sky rocketed in the past two years. However all health food supplements do not come with the government’s stamp of approval. The FDA comes into the picture only when a manufacture self-reports an issue with his product or a health concern is raised.

It has been proved through researches worldwide that toxicity in the body can also increase with high dosages of vitamins A, D, E, C, Pyroxine and Iodine. Therefore health food supplements should only be taken under proper guidance because the effect may vary between individuals, depending on factors like age, sex, physical condition and the combination in which supplements are taken. As a general principle, “kitchen sink” combinations should be avoided. Unless necessary, it is advised that natural health food supplements be added to daily diet.

Researchers at National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), India, have conducted extensive research on health food supplements and concluded that spices are extremely beneficial to well being:

• Debitterised fenugreek seeds: Delay or impair glucose absorption when 25gms are consumed by diabetic subjects.
• Turmeric and its active principle called curcumin: Possess antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties. Ingestion of 2gms per day enhances body defences.
• Onion and garlic: Rich source of compounds, like diallyl sulphide, diallyl disulphide, allium and ajoene. These have antimicrobial, hypolipidemic antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties. They stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify mutagens/carcinogens.
• Ginger: Helps ameliorate conditions like rheumatic disorders, inflammation and gastrointestinal discomforts. Studies also suggest it to be usable as a chemo-preventing agent.
Other well researched health food supplements are:
• Chlorophyll: Builds blood, renews tissue, promotes healthful intestinal flora and activates enzymes that produce vitamins A, D, and K.
• Wheat Grass Juice: Has detoxifies the body and has a high concentration of beta-carotene and vitamins such as E and K.
• Alfalfa: Helps assimilate protein, fats and carbohydrates. It alkalizes and detoxifies the body, especially the liver.
• Barley grass: Contains folic acid, pantothenic acid, beta carotene and vitamins C and E.
• Spirulina: Helps to protect the immune system, lower cholesterol and facilitate mineral absorption. It is high in chlorophyll, protein, beta-carotene, B12 and nucleic acids.
• Flaxseed oil: Rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6. Provides essential fatty acids required for normal cell structure and function.
• Dark chocolate: If consumed in a moderate amount, helps to lower high blood pressure and keep the heart healthy. It is rich in flavonoids.
• Curds/Yogurt: Provides the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria that help to fight cancer, build bones and boost immunity. These are probiotic foods.
• Oats: Consumption of this food lowers the risk of heart diseases as it is rich in fibres, it also helps muscle growth.

In a nutshell, consuming a variety of edibles with the right health food supplements leads to increased longevity, proper hormonal functioning and physical as well as mental efficiency.