A food supplement is a substance or mixture of substances taken to help meet the increased nutritional needs of people who suffer from undernutrition, and malnutrition, and as a preventive measure for healthy people. The definition distinguishes “food supplements” from “foods”. The term is most often applied to pharmaceutical products taken by mouth.
1. Prevent nutrition deficiencies
Food supplements are used to make up for whatever nutrients are lacking in our diet. Foods with nutritional benefits may be used to complement the diet to address physiological deficiencies or inadequate levels of nutrients that exist due to poor dietary habits. It is recommended that such food supplements should supply no more than 25% of the total daily
calorific needs. The aim is not only to prevent deficiencies but also to provide adequate amounts of nutrients as a means of preventing chronic diseases and maintaining overall health.
2. Improve health
Foods with nutritional benefits may be used to aid in the treatment and management of certain diseases. Food supplements can improve blood circulation and promote energy levels, as well as reduce fatigue and hunger pains. They may also support weight loss, promote healthy skin and hair, protect against illness or increase resistance to viral infections such as cold sores, or aid in the management of arthritic pain. Foods with nutritional benefits can also be used to treat obesity.
3. Boost Immunity
Food supplements are broadly used in complementary medicine for boosting immunity, especially against infectious diseases. Food supplements are usually recommended in cases of severe allergies, not only because of their high levels of vitamins and minerals (particularly antioxidants) but also due to their mildness.
4. Improve Digestion
Food supplements are used as digestive aids for supporting good health and proper digestion. Dietary food supplements may be taken to relieve the common stomach upsets that people experience periodically; for example, indigestion due to eating too much fat, or gas and bloating from eating too much fiber.
5. Reduce Cholesterol
It is recommended that the daily cholesterol intake from a food supplement should not exceed 40-50 grams per day to lower the risk of heart disease. Foods with nutritional benefits can be used to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Foods with nutritional benefits such as calcium, iron, and vitamin C are best because they are more stable than other forms such as pills, tablets, or powders that tend to lose their effectiveness once exposed to heat or light for a long period.
Food supplements are widely used and are generally considered safe. They can be used to provide extra nutrients in the diet and may be an effective way of providing essential micronutrients, especially if a person is unable to eat a variety of vegetables, fruit, or meat. A food supplement may also be used to improve overall health and well-being by providing energy, a healthy immune system, and promoting proper digestion.