Nutritional Supplements – Should I Take Them?

Lots of people take nutritional supplements to bridge nutritional gaps in their diet or as proactive health measures against certain health conditions. Are you sure you are taking the right nutritional supplement specific to your health needs? Taking some time to assess your health needs can help you choose the best supplement for optimal health.But your question may be more basic: Do I really need to take nutritional supplements? We live in unique times. Stress, pollution, conveniently accessible processed foods, unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles overtime can take their heavy toll on our health. This may manifest itself in bouts of tiredness, unhealthy weight gain, digestive problems, insomnia, or a weak immune system. In addition to these common symptoms of poor health, each of us has uniquely individual health needs.Taking care of your body today is like investing in your health for tomorrow. Let’s address some common reasons why many people do not take nutritional supplements. And those who do take nutritional supplements may also discover that you can benefit by changing or adding nutritional supplements to your diet as you assess your individual health needs.Let’s begin with:
I don’t need nutritional supplements. I eat healthy and get enough nutrition through my diet.I would suggest you do a simple exercise to confirm whether your diet is meeting your nutritional needs. Note down everything that you eat for two weeks, including the quantity. Check a nutrition table and track the nutrient value of everything you eat. After two weeks, work out your daily average and check your daily rating against your RDAs. You may be in for a slight shock! Statistics show that most Americans don’t meet their nutritional needs.
Lack of protein, too many carbohydrates. You might find that your diet lacks protein but is too high in carbohydrates. This is very common in the American diet. Cutting down on the carbs and supplementing your diet with spirulina or chlorella (high-protein content) will help fill this nutritional gap.
Lack of fiber. Another common feature is lack of adequate fiber. Fiber supplements are available as an individual product or may be included as an ingredient in a whole food nutritional supplement. Fiber is known to bind toxins in your GI tract and help speed its transit through your digestive system, thus minimizing their absorption in the body. Fiber is also known to promote healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. If your diet falls short on many RDA counts, consider taking a superfood supplement which includes multi-vitamins, minerals, protein, dietary fiber, probiotics and enzymes for good digestion.
I have a busy life. I’ve tried taking them, but my schedule doesn’t allow me to be consistent. I travel a lot.If you lead a busy lifestyle, taking a nutritional supplement regularly will help you have the energy and concentration power you need to perform at your maximum best. You may be on the go all the time and miss out on meals. Nutritional supplements are available in convenient-to-carry individual packets. This is usually in powdered form to be mixed with water. You can carry packets with you any where you go, and use it any time you feel the need for an energy pick-up.It is important to attend to your health needs as a priority, in addition to the many other important demands in your life. A busy schedule can add stress to your life. Stress can increase the toxin levels in your body. Not only would your body need to be armed with B-complex, but nutrients like resveratol and omega 3s can help to increase your concentration and cognitive abilities. Green tea is also known to have soothing benefits for a tired mind.
I don’t know which nutritional supplement to take. Take some time to assess your health needs. The simple exercise mentioned above will help you find your nutritional needs. You can either adjust your diet to meet your needs or introduce supplements to bridge the nutritional gaps. If you are still unsure, seek the advice of your doctor before you take any supplement.However, everyone can benefit from taking a multi-vitamin supplement. An effervescent multi-vitamin formula is the best since it allows 99% bioavailability. Look for one from a reputed company.
I take a multi-vitamin. I don’t think I need to take anything else.As research on nutrition advances, there are more nutritional supplements available to strategically help you with specific health needs. Some might be formulated for health conditions you are facing or you may likely face because you are in a higher risk category for such diseases. These include:

High cholesterol levels. If your cholesterol levels test high, or you have a family history of coronary disease, then you should look for herbal supplements that can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Omega 3 supplementation is advisable for improved heart health. Look for a pharmaceutical grade fish oil. Other nutrients for heart health include resveratrol, cocoa and green tea. Some products contain a combination of all 3 for powerful antioxidant power that promotes cardiovascular health.
Diabetes. Green tea is also known to help support healthy blood sugar levels. Green tea supplements are available in various forms.
Arthritis: Omega 3 fatty acids, along with other nutrients such as glucosamine sulfate, methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM), hyal joint have been well researched for their role in supporting joint health.
Stress Induced Conditions. Stress is known to cause poor immune health and a host of health issues such as premature aging due to free radical damage. Antioxidants also help to reduce free radical activity. Free radical activity is the unstable activity of cells which can lead to their malfunction and malformation. Antioxidants help maintain normal cellular growth and repair of cells.
I’m scared I may overdose.It is very unlikely that you will overdose from nutritional supplements. Nutritional supplements do not provide you your complete RDAs-just a portion of them. The rest you must get from eating a balanced diet.
Many health problems can be linked to nutritional deficiencies. For some this may mean that the road to better health may lie in improving nutritional habits. This is where nutritional supplements can play an effective role in supporting your health.Nutrition experts recommend that you get your nutrition from your diet as often as possible. Nutritional supplements are to be taken in addition to a well-balanced diet. A regular exercise routine can benefit your health as well. Discuss with your doctor about taking supplements that could strategically meet your individual health needs.

Getting Started With Investing

IntroductionTraditionally investing has been seen as the preserve of the wealthy and has a reputation for being a minefield to the uninitiated. As western standards of living continue to increase, more and more people are beginning to realize the benefits investing even small sums can bring. This article seeks to explore some basic principles to help you get started with investing.1. What’s the basic premise of investing?The Collins English Dictionary defines the word invest in the following way; “To lay out, for profit or advantage.” To layout refers to the fact that something of value is needed in the first place in order to generate more wealth. In essence investing is a means of taking a pre defined sum of money and using it in such a way as to increase its original value, therefore generating a profit.2. Why Invest?This is one of the most fundamental questions that any person looking to invest needs to ask. The general answer is pretty obvious, to generate a profit, but the reason behind the investment are far more important and will directly influence how and where you chose to invest. In addition the answer will also determine the level of risk you are willing to expose yourself to and which will be explored in more detail later.Reasons as to why people invest are varied and may include some of the following; to build up a nest egg for retirement, to provide a financial safety net, to pay for future education or university fees for children, for fun because of the buzz investing can create.3. How Should I invest?This is also a deeply personal question and will depend upon the amount of money an individual has at their disposal. It is important to stress that investment takes many different forms all of which facilitate differing levels of investment. A single mum might decide to invest $20 or a business entrepreneur $1 million but both will seek a return on their capital outlay and how they go about achieving their investment goals may differ substantially.4. What level of risk should I expose myself to?Such a decision is very important as ultimately it will dictate the profitability of your final investment. In many respects this question will also be determined by the answer to the previous question, why invest? If an investment is being made to safeguard a financial future the level of risk taken may be lower than an individual investing for fun.Generally investments are made in three distinct categories low, medium and high. Low risk investments include Government bonds and savings accounts. Medium Risk investments could include certain types of shares or property. High Risk investments will almost certainly include shares in rapidly expanding companies exploring new markets. The dot.com crash in the late nineties, in which thousands of newly established technology companies went bust, is an example of a high risk investment going very wrong.What types of investment are there?This is not an easy question to answer because in theory anything that earns a profit from an initial outlay can be classed as an investment.There are however some common forms of investment that deserve further explanation.a) Government BondsThese are deemed low risk investments as money is invested in Government related projects and assets. It is unheard of in the western world for a Government to go bankrupt.b) SharesThis is a means of holding a stake in a company trading on the stock exchange and investors benefit from its profitability. Whilst share dealing can be low risk particularly if you are investing in established companies in the FTSE 100, most share investments are deemed medium or high risk. This is because such investments have the potential to return excellent profits but there is also a raised risk of losing your total investment.c) AntiquesAntiques are often a great source of investment given that they hold their value at the very least and have the added benefit of being easy to sell if you need a quick cash injection. In addition if you wish to leave a sum of money to family after your death they won’t be hit with inheritance taxes often associated with large amounts of physical cash. Perhaps one of the major drawbacks to investing in Antiques is the requirement of a level of technical expertise, or access to those skills, to ensure that suitable items are invested in.d) PropertyProperty can also be a very lucrative source of investment as property prices continue to increase across the developed world. Generally property prices increase in value in the long term.e) SavingsWhilst banks often make the distinction between savings and investments, in essence savings are a form of investment as the money you save with the bank is invested in low risk shares on your behalf, which ultimately enables financial institutions to make interest payments to you.How to investNow that you have more information to help you get started with investment the next step is to speak to an independent financial advisor. These consultations are almost always free and you can get specific advice tailored to your individual needs concerning investing. In the UK there is an excellent site for finding Independent Financial Advisors called unbiased, see the link at the end of this articleSummaryThis article has attempted to provide advice to enable individuals to get started with investment. Discussion has taken place about the basic premise of investing and the profitability of such a decision, along with examining different reasons for investing. Attention has also been given to how much might be invested and at what level of risk this might be undertaken at. Finally we have explored the vast array of investment options available and what the next step is for a budding investor.

Natural Ethnic Skin Care: What You Need to Know

Long known, is the fact that there are very few natural ethnic skin care products in the mainstream cosmetics industry to address skin of color properly. Seems almost everything formulated for our skin in the ethnic market is either too drying, too irritating, too greasy, or just plain too ineffective.What makes some formulators of these products think these type of products are going to help our skin? One would wonder what they were thinking. Is there any hope?It is extremely pleasing to say ‘indeed yes’, there is. Start using natural ethnic skin care products. Stop using toxic products. We know just how sensitive our skin is, so the first thing we need to do is avoid chemical-laden skin care and personal care products like the plague.These types of products can prove to be devastating to our skin in many ways. Unfortunately, these products were saturating and even dominating the cosmetics industry for quite some time.In both the ethnic personal care market as well as the mainstream personal care market, there’s a lot left to be desired. By now, you probably have a good idea why it is not recommended to use most mainstream personal care products for sensitive skin of color. Not to worry, natural personal care products are the answer.Natural Skin Care: Herbs Make the Difference for Ethnic SkinWhen it comes to natural skin care, herbs contained in products can have a very positive impact on ethnic skin. There is a fundamental difference in the way herbal skin care and conventional skin care works.Herbs themselves, contain not only single active constituents, but many active constituents that provide necessary nutrients to the skin. These multiple compounds acting together, can more effectively address skin problems from every angle.Remember, plant cells and human cells are very compatible. What does all this mean? It means that herbals treat not just the symptoms, but the underlying cause of any existing skin or health condition more effectively.It is well-known that herbs are more gentle in nature, on not only the skin, but the body as a whole. This can be attributed to the fact that herbs have been extracted as naturally occurring substances. Herbs are gentle and do not produce any major, toxic side effects on skin.This is especially beneficial for skin of color, as it is more reactive by nature than most other skin types and needs both the gentlest, and most effective treatment. Make no mistake about it, herbal skin care may be gentler, but this does not mean it is less effective. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!Remember, 60-70% of what you put on your skin has the ability to penetrate your pores and eventually end up in your blood stream. If you are going to use products to address your skin condition, why not use something naturally healthy as well?Natural products either purchased or home-made from natural ingredients, should be the preferred choice before conventional personal care products are sought after from the mainstream cosmetics industry.Herbals vs. Modern Drugs in the Skin Care IndustryModern drugs contained in mainstream or conventional skin care products (including benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, kojic acid, etc.) are manufactured in laboratories and then produced in mass quantities in factories.Before reaching the general public, these drugs are tested on a large number of users. The knowledge that forms the basis of the conventional or mainstream skin care industry is based on experimental findings and observations.To that extent, herbal treatments are also supported through years of fact-based evidence that has accumulated over generations and across cultures, thus their value is well-known.The unfortunate fact is that the approach to testing herbal beauty remedies has not been as thorough and rigorous as the testing that is seen in the mainstream beauty industry.So much money has been put into funding the analysis of modern drugs (also contained in many skin care products) that they should be able to produce evidence for the benefits of herbal treatments. In the modern drug and personal care markets, it’s all about the money.It is much less cost-effective for mainstream cosmetic and skin care makers to produce active, natural and organic skin care products than to produce unnatural and even unsafe ones.Remember that herbal treatments are different in that they are a complex mixture of a variety of active compounds. These active compounds work together to heal skin more effectively and are difficult to separate making duplication and measurement a difficult task for the mainstream formulator.One Word of CautionWhen selecting herbal ethnic skin care products for our dark skin, we must still be cautious for our skin’s sake. Beware of companies who tout themselves as offering you so-called ‘natural’, ‘herbal’ and ‘organic’ skin or hair care products and they really are not!When it comes down to it, there may be tiny amounts of only one, two or maybe even three organic and/or natural ingredients in the entire product followed or preceded by a host of chemical ingredients such as coloring agents, preservatives, stabilizers, thickeners, PH balancers, fragrance and such. Please read labels carefully. Avoid these products. Your skin will thank you.The Bottom LineDark skin types should be treated with the thorough understanding of our skin’s characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. Once we understand this, we can treat it more effectively with natural herbs and avoid the recurrence of excessive skin problems. We can start by becoming more educated about our beautiful dark skin (you are because you’re reading this article).First, avoid unhealthy and unnatural skin care products, incorporate more fresh, nutrient rich foods in our diets, and use natural ethnic skin care products designed for ‘us’ (even if you have to make your own). You’re on your way!