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Nutritional Support

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The role of antioxidants:

Antioxidants can neutralize the cell-damaging effects of free radicals. Furthermore, people who eat fruits and vegetables (good sources of antioxidants), have a lower risk of heart disease and some neurological diseases, antioxidants might also help to protect the body against other diseases such as suppressed immunity due to poor nutrition. Some experts have suggested that in order for antioxidants to be effective and beneficial, a person must consume them on a regular basis over a period of time. In order to protect a body against oxidative stress, several antioxidant defence mechanisms depend on minerals for proper functioning. The major enzymatic antioxidant defence systems in the body are superoxide dismutase, which requires copper, zinc and magnesium; glutathione peroxidise is another enzymatic antioxidant defence system requiring selenium, with catalase which requires iron.

Supplementation with a good multivitamin/mineral will ensure that all vitamins and minerals required by the body are present in adequate amounts during the convalescence process. In addition to this multivitamin/mineral, the diet of the patient must also include additional amounts of vitamin C and the essential mineral zinc for additional support during the recovery process.

For many people living in this day and age, a healthy balanced diet seems to be an unattainable goal. Modern day pressure, such as a lack of time for proper meal planning and preparation, result in a reliance on unhealthy fast foods for quick energy. The consequences are a steady accumulation of unwanted body fat, sub-optimal health and an increased risk for potentially life threatening diseases such as diabetes in both children and adults. Also insulin fluctuations caused by sugar laden foods such as chocolates, sweets, crisps, muffins, and cool drinks result in poor performance, lethargy, lack of concentration and a renewed craving for sugary food. Nutritional supplements provide an invaluable solution to a modern day problem.

The new era of advanced nutritional supplement powders contain bio-available proteins for ease of digestion, absorption and muscle support, complex carbohydrates providing stabilised blood sugar levels and thus sustained energy, and a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals for enhanced health and vitality.

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Nutrition and the role of nutritional supplements

Although a balanced diet should cater for the average vitamin and mineral requirements, some people need to supplement their diets. People who are active and exercise; those who are under great stress, on restricted diets, or mentally or physically ill; women who take oral contraceptives; those on medication; those who are recovering from surgery and injury; smokers and those who consume alcoholic beverages all need higher than normal amounts of micronutrients. A diet that lacks essential nutrients over a long period of time leads to a greater risk of degenerative disease.

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Nutritional supplements and recovery

The loss of nutrients during the course of the illness can be restored by the use of supplements during the period of recovery and convalescence – an intense or long bout of illness can quickly deplete all essential nutrients in the body of the patient. Nutritional supplements can rapidly speed up the rate of recovery, though they cannot be used as a replacement for the inclusion of wholesome foods, or in lieu of adequate rest.

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The role of micronutrients:

Micronutrients contribute to good health by regulating the metabolism and assisting the biochemical processes that release energy from digested food. There is a cooperative action between certain vitamins and minerals, which work as catalysts, promoting the absorption and assimilation of other vitamins and minerals. Correcting a deficiency in one vitamin or mineral requires the addition of others, not simply replacement of one in which you are deficient.

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Source: Daily Maverick
By The Scientific Collective