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What are the Different Types of Food Supplements?

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  • Written By: Alison Faria
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2016
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Some types of food supplements include antioxidants, vitamins, fats, minerals, and proteins. Recommended types can vary according to what a person's diet might lack. Supplements are also sometimes added to a person's diet because of certain activities they participate in. For example, athletes often require more carbohydrates in their diet because carbohydrates can increase energy.

In Western cultures, diets are usually high in carbohydrates. Compounds of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen are generally elements of carbohydrates. In the body, chemical processes break down carbohydrates into glucose. If the body doesn't maintain healthy levels of glucose, diabetes can occur.

Those who wish to avoid getting colds and flu viruses often look for different types of food supplements, such as antioxidants. Antioxidants are usually made up of plant extracts. These extracts enter the blood stream and, as they circulate, clean up free radicals. Free radicals are unstable compounds that, in an effort to become stable, try to steal electrons from other molecules. As a result, free radicals can cause disease and cell damage.

Vitamins are typically among the most common types of food supplements. Vitamin depletion in soil used to grow fruits and vegetables and excessive food processing have contributed to a variety of vitamin deficiencies that many people experience. Vitamin D is an exception—not only is it found in milk, it is also manufactured by the body when exposed to sunlight. Vitamins also are essential to a person's diet in order to maintain organ functions.

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Good fats, also known as fatty acids, are something many people do not get enough of when it comes to the different types of food supplements necessary to their diet. These fats are found in animal products, nuts, seeds, and some plants. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eichosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are two examples of beneficial fatty acids. Specifically, DHA and EPA are very important to nerve and brain function.

Minerals are often considered to be among the most important of the different types of food supplements. They are mostly made up of inorganic compounds and metals. Healthy bones and teeth are generally attributed to a healthy amount of minerals in the diet.

Proteins are used to build muscle and tissue. Healthy hair and nails are two physical indicators that a person might be getting enough protein in their diet. In addition to finding different types of food supplements that contain protein as an ingredient, people can also find protein in foods such as beef, fish, eggs, dairy products, seeds, nuts, and legumes.

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doctorJP
Post 3

After exploring the different daily nutritional supplements and the purpose behind them, I spent a year thoroughly researching all those available on the market in order to make a more informed decision. In addition, I took a step back to look at why we take a nutritional supplement and from that answer came to a conclusion on what criteria is needed to fully meet our daily needs, or at least as much as nutritionally possible. These findings are summarized here and I am glad to share them with you.

The first discovery I made was actually a conclusion: that the best supplements on the market actually have three criteria that make them each an optimal daily nutritional supplement compared to

others that don't meet these criteria. (These same criteria can be applied to those nutritional products that in a small percentage of cases are needed for specific, targeted uses or conditions, but here we are talking about daily nutrition for overall health and wellness).

Those criteria are: 1) the product is made using the whole food; 2) it is comprised of mostly (if not all) organic foods; and 3) it includes superfoods -- those foods we know to contain relatively very high levels of nutritional content.

The three companies I found that make a product (a daily nutritional supplement) that fit these three criteria are: Barlean's Organic Greens, Green SuperFoods by Amazing Grass and AKEA Essentials.

There may be others that have the three criteria mentioned above, but the main focus was to find a complete nutritional supplement that is meant to cover the vast array of nutrients most of us miss in our typical day, not a supplement specific to a particular problem (i.e. vitamin D for depression-like symptoms).

I have personally tried all three, but opted for using the AKEA Essentials (now just called AKEA and owned by Asantae). The AKEA has the added benefit of having pre- and pro-biotic enzymes and fermented foods, all of which aid in the digestion and health of the intestinal tract. The taste of the AKEA is something I enjoyed over the others, although my philosophy is I would consume any product regardless of taste if I knew it contained a very high level of very high quality nutrients. However, the AKEA does taste good.

The other point to make here is that you won't find the best daily nutritional supplements in a capsule, pill, or tablet form, at least not if you expect to get adequate amounts of nutrients. Of course, you could take 10 or more per day, but with that approach you are better off with a powder. Also, liquids will always (I have not found one without one of the common preservatives - usually a benzoate of some sort - among the roughly 30-plus I evaluated) have some sort of preservative, because water will invite mold and the preservative prevents the mold. And the preservative is not a beneficial nutrient, so this delivery method was voted down.

Those three criteria can be debated on whether or not they are necessary -- just as many people don't think organic foods are necessary -- but if your focus is to get nutrition into your body to support your good health and prevention of sickness and disease, then doesn't it makes sense to seek a product with only the highest standards? Besides, "organic" farming was the standard for thousands of years, and only recently has the new standard of farming become "conventional," which uses chemicals and products that are not healthy or beneficial to the soil.

Finding the best for myself and others was the goal in my search. Hope you find this information helpful.

Ivan83
Post 2

Have you ever heard of super foods? These are supposed to be the foods that are extra packed with vitamins, minerals and other food supplements. All foods offer something but these foods offer extra benefits.

Off the top of my head I can only think of a few, spinach, almonds and I think salmon. There are lots more though. Obviously if you eat a handful of almonds you will not suddenly be bursting with energy ready to conquer the world, but you will feel a lot better than if you ate a Big Mac. Check online and its easy to find a complete list of super foods.

whiteplane
Post 1

You know, its great to take vitamins and mineral supplements and to try to eat a diet that targets certain food supplements, but the best way to maintain health and wellness is to eat a great variety of foods. These should include lots of fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes and meats if you choose.

The goal should not be to eat certain things in certain combinations. The goal should be to try the greatest variety of items. This way you will expose yourself to the widest possible number of vitamins and minerals and they will interact with each other in lots of dynamic ways.

If is really easy for all of us to fall in to the rut

of eating the same things every day, or close to it. Think of how often you eat meat and a potato, or vegetables and rice if you are trying to be healthy. Both of these are bad because your body ends up getting the exact same supplements over and over.

You have to mix things up. Step outside your comfort zone. Have you ever had a pickled beet? When was the last time you made a fancy soup? Ever tried making your own juice? Tried quinoa? There are so many foods out there, try them all. This is the easiest and most delicious way to get healthy from your diet.

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