Here’s What You Need To Know Before Taking Herbal Supplements


People are getting more and more health conscious and make an effort to eat well and exercise to stay in shape. But many also take supplements, sometimes, without consulting an expert. All herbs, including supplements labeled as “natural,” can still cause sequelae similar to modern drugs, experts say. It is advisable to speak to your doctor before taking them, especially if you have chronic health conditions, if you are taking other medications, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

“According to ASSOCHAM, around 60 to 70 percent of food supplements across India are counterfeit, unregistered and unapproved, which are not easily identified as fake. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, and dairy products in balanced amounts that can meet your daily vitamin and mineral needs, ”suggests Dr. Shalini Joshi, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Hospital Fortis, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore.

Here are some healthy foods and supplements, as suggested by Dr. Joshi:

* Garlic has favorable cardiovascular effects and is also believed to have a significant effect on lowering blood pressure and lowering cholesterol.

* Echinacea helps prevent colds.

* Ginkgo helps improve memory.

* Flax seeds are extremely healthy and help lower cholesterol.

* You can meet your daily calcium needs by consuming yogurt, cheese, milk, salmon, green leafy vegetables.

* Spinach, broccoli and legumes are high in magnesium.

* Potassium can be found in milk, meats, fruits and vegetables.

* Shellfish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, 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 not to be influenced by marketing promotions around herbal supplements, Sheela Krishnaswamy, nutrition and wellness consultant, comments: “It’s an unfortunate situation. It is not a good idea to take supplements without a prescription from a qualified healthcare practitioner, as supplements can do more harm than good if they are not needed by the body.

“If you are referring to herbal supplements, then most Ayurvedic doctors prescribe them to their patients based on individual needs. High blood pressure, diabetes, high stress, etc. should be managed with a healthy lifestyle and medication prescribed by a doctor. Diet plays a very important role in controlling these health problems and a qualified dietitian would be able to guide the patient, ”adds Krishnaswamy.

The best formula is to eat right, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and get enough sun and relaxation.


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