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Food supplements: the complete guide to choosing and using them

Food supplements have been on the rise in recent years, and for good reason, they offer a practical solution to opti
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Understanding food supplements

Food supplements are products intended to complement our daily diet to provide nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, fiber, probiotics and other elements beneficial to our body in optimal quantities. It is important to emphasize that they do not replace a balanced and varied diet, but rather serve to compensate for possible deficiencies or support certain functions of our body.

How to choose the right food supplement

Now that you are convinced by the benefits of taking food supplements, it’s time to choose! It is essential to choose the right food supplement according to your specific needs and criteria. Here are some tips to help you in this process:

  • Identify your needs: take into account your age, gender, level of physical activity, general health and dietary habits to determine the supplements best suited to your situation.

  • Consult a healthcare professional: a doctor, nutritionist or pharmacist will be able to direct you towards the most appropriate supplements based on your profile and your needs.

  • Favor trusted brands: choose food supplements from recognized brands with clinical studies or proven results in order to avoid disillusionment. Check the reviews and talk about them: seek objectivity by turning to verified online reviews or word-of-mouth recommendations to benefit from feedback from your peers!

  • Pay attention to labels and certifications: When a food supplement is effective and reliable, it does not remain discreet for long. Unless you come across a young brand that is still little noticed, look for the awards or certifications that are awarded to reliable and quality products. These attest to compliance with manufacturing standards, the traceability of ingredients and the absence of harmful substances. Among the best-known labels, we can cite the ISO 22000 quality charter, the Ecocert, AB (Organic Agriculture) labels, the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification and the “Made in France” label.

  • Be demanding and rigorous in terms of the composition of food supplements

When choosing a dietary supplement, it is crucial to analyze its composition. Here are some things to consider:

  • Active ingredients: Make sure the supplement contains the necessary ingredients to meet your specific needs. A food supplement with a rich and complete formulation of active ingredients and sufficient dosages will often be more effective than a single-ingredient treatment.

  • Excipients: these substances are added to facilitate the manufacture, storage or use of the supplement. Make sure they are of natural origin and safe for your health.

  • Allergens: check the list of ingredients to avoid any risk of allergy or intolerance. To help you see more clearly, know that allergens are highlighted in fat or in italics in the ingredient list. If you have any doubts or are prone to allergies, ask your doctor for advice.

  • Finally, do not consume too many food supplements at the same time. The multiplication of concomitant treatments, particularly containing the same active ingredients, can lead to overdoses or interactions.

How to use dietary supplements correctly

Even though food supplements can provide benefits, it is necessary to follow the recommended recommendations to get the most out of them. Overdose, interactions with other molecules or side effects are all risks that must be taken into account. Here are some tips for safe use:

Consult the advice of a healthcare professional: your doctor, pharmacist or nutritionist will be able to guide you on the dosage and duration of treatment to follow.

Read the instructions for use provided by the manufacturer carefully: they contain valuable information on the composition, dosage, contraindications and possible side effects.

Be vigilant about drug interactions: although food supplements may seem “harmless” to the extent that they are largely composed of plants (or natural active ingredients), they should nevertheless be used with caution. In fact, the plants incorporated in food supplements are concentrated in the form of an extract, which means that their active ingredients are themselves concentrated and in much larger doses than if the plant were “normally” consumed through food. Certain food supplements can therefore interact with medications, reinforcing or reducing their action. Inform your doctor about taking food supplements if you are taking medication and be sure to follow any contraindications on the product leaflet.

Monitor side effects: If you experience any side effects after taking a dietary supplement, stop using it immediately and consult a healthcare professional.

The importance of a balanced diet when taking supplements

It is crucial to remember that food supplements do not replace a healthy and balanced diet. They can provide support to improve a particular well-being concern provided they already have good eating habits and good health. Here are some tips to ensure a healthy and balanced diet:

  • Eat a wide variety of foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, dairy products, lean meats, fish and eggs.
  • Choose foods rich in nutrients: opt for foods that provide a large quantity of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients essential for your health.
  • Limit processed foods, often high in sugars, fats, salt and additives which can contribute to nutritional imbalances and the development of health problems.
  • Stay aware of portions: be sure to respect the recommended portions for each food group and avoid excess.
  • Hydrate yourself sufficiently: water is essential for the proper functioning of our body. Drink it regularly throughout the day.

In summary, food supplements can be excellent allies to fill certain deficiencies and support our well-being, provided they are chosen carefully and used carefully. Remember that diet remains the key to good health and that food supplements cannot replace a healthy and balanced diet. Do not hesitate to consult a health professional to guide you in your approach and support you on the path to a healthier life thanks to cures and food supplements.

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