Say no to popping pills

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Say no to popping pills

Tuesday, 17 November 2020 | PULKIT SHARMA

Millennials worry that despite best of care, unknown nutritional deficiencies might plague their health. Hence, they take to popping pills. PULKIT SHARMA tells you that a balanced diet is all one needs

With a sharp increase in our life expectancies along with the growing burden of lifestyle and novel infectious diseases, most of us want to take no chances when it comes to our health. We try to follow special diets, exercise more, reduce our stress levels and aspire to keep agile and happy. Over the last few years, several vitamins and supplements have become an integral part of our diet. Many millennials worry that despite best of care, unknown nutritional deficiencies might plague their health.

Consequently, they are always on a lookout for a perfect health supplement-a pill that will magically fill in the various nutritional gaps in their diet and give them the best of health. With many multivitamins and health supplements easily available over the counter, an increasing number of people use them on a regular basis.

But these purported fountains of youth, health and longevity come with a pandora’s box of maladies. For starters, many such products may contain vibrant artificial colours, synthetic derivatives, hydrogenated oils, heavy metals, and titanium dioxide and with all these unhealthy additives, the tiny pills and fine powders do more harm than good.The bigger problem is that people often use these pills as a substitute for healthy behaviours such as a balanced diet, physical exercise, and relaxation. They erroneously start believing that they can binge on junk food routinely, sprawl around freely and do whatever they fancy,as if the health supplements will miraculously fix everything.

Of course, vitamins, minerals and health supplements do have a range of health benefits. Vitamin D boosts our immune system, strengthens our bones and teeth, and regulates our mood. But does this mean that we need to swallow several pills a day to get these essential micronutrients into our system? We seem to have forgotten that a varied and a balanced diet can provide most of these micronutrients to us in their most natural and potent form. Nature has designed our systems to extract nutrition from food and not from tablets, gummies or powders manufactured in a laboratory. When we get these essential nutrients from the food, there is no significant risk of overdosage or toxicity.

If you are feeling rundown, try to fix your diet and lifestyle first. If that does not help, schedule a visit to a health practitioner who can diagnose your condition and assess whether you need any supplement or not. Even if you need one, the emphasis should still be on eating right and cultivating healthy habits so that your body recovers from the deficiency and you can go off the supplements quickly.

The writer is a clinical psychologist & the author of When the Soul Heals

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