People are becoming increasingly health conscious and making an effort to eat right and exercise to stay fit. But many also consume supplements, at times, without consulting an expert. All herbs, including supplements labelled as “natural” can still cause after-effects similar to modern medication, say experts. It is advisable to talk to your doctor before taking these, especially if you have chronic health problems, are taking other medications, are pregnant or breastfeeding.
“As per ASSOCHAM, about 60 to 70 per cent of dietary supplements across India are counterfeit, unregistered and unapproved, which are not easily identified as fake. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, dairy products in a balanced amount which can fulfill your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals,” suggests Dr Shalini Joshi, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore.
Here some healthy foods and supplements, as suggested by Dr Joshi:
* Garlic has favourable cardiovascular effects and is also believed to have a significant effect on lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol.
* Echinacea helps prevent cold.
* Ginkgo helps improve memory.
* Flaxseeds are extremely healthy and help lower cholesterol.
* You can meet your daily calcium requirement by consuming yoghurt, cheese, milk, salmon, green leafy vegetables.
* Spinach, broccoli and legumes are rich in magnesium.
* Potassium can be found in milk, meats, fruits and vegetables.
* Shellfish, nuts, seeds, whole-grain, prunes are rich in copper.
* Red meat, fruits and green vegetables are a good source of iron.
* Zinc can be found in shellfish, legumes and whole grains.
On the need to not be swayed by marketing promotions around herbal supplements, Sheela Krishnaswamy, nutrition and wellness consultant, comments, “This is an unfortunate situation. It’s not a good idea to take supplements without prescription by a qualified healthcare professional because the supplements can do more harm than good if it’s not needed for the body.”
“If you are referring to plant-based supplements, then most Ayurvedic physicians prescribe them for their patients depending on individual requirements. High blood pressure, diabetes, high stress, etc, have to be managed with a healthy lifestyle and medications as prescribed by a doctor. Diet plays a very important role in controlling these health conditions and a qualified dietitian would be able to guide the patient,” adds Krishnaswamy.
The best formula is eating right, exercising regularly, sleeping adequately and getting enough sunlight and relaxation.
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