herbs and vegetables scattered across a table

Top 10 Things to Know about Herbs, Probiotics, Nutritional Insurance and Safety of Vegetarian Diets

  1. Nutritional insurance is tricky

While your body may need certain supplements, nutritionists to this day continue to have different opinions about what once-a-day supplements should play in a diet. There is no evidence that periodically taking multivitamins is helpful, but no evidence suggests that it causes harm either.

  1. Anything you add to your diet is a supplement

When thinking about supplements, most people immediately imagine daily multivitamins and standalone vitamins. In reality, anything can be a supplement, including peanut butter crackers. Some people use bran as a natural laxative supplement. Others supplement their diets with flaxseed oil to increase the number of fatty acids that they get from food. The number of examples here could be endless.

  1. Herbs are plants that you can use for different purposes

There are two big categories of herbs. The first one is culinary herbs that you can add to foods to improve their flavor and aroma. The herbs are different from vegetables because they are used in very tiny amounts. The second category is medicinal herbs. Most people use them for potential health benefits such as boosting immunity of preventing heart disease.

  1. Probiotics are tiny bugs that live in food

The idea behind taking probiotics is that if you eat them by consuming whole foods, you will increase the amount of good bacteria that you have in your body. Probiotics include yeasts and a variety of microorganisms that can help repopulate your intestines with the good guys.

  1. Probiotics can help treat a number of diseases and conditions

Scientific studies suggest that probiotics may help you restore the amounts of bacteria you have in your intestines after you take antibiotics to fight various infections. Antibiotics typically kill both bad and good bacteria while probiotics restore the amounts of good bacteria in the body. Probiotics can also be beneficial to the prevention and treatment of eczema, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome.

  1. Federal regulations about marketing and sales of nutritional supplements are very lackluster

For this reason, you always want to do some research of your own when it comes to buying probiotics, medicinal herbs or supplements. The regulations are very different from those that cover prescription drugs or even over-the-counter medications. Companies can market nutritional supplements, probiotics, and herbs without having to prove their safety or effectiveness.

  1. Vitamins do not provide you with energy on their own

Vitamins and nutrients help your body function properly, but they don’t give it any energy on their own. Only macronutrients do that. Macronutrients include fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

  1. You can use reliable sources to verify different claims and read more about medical studies and their results

Some of the resources that will keep you up-to-date and provide you with accurate information include the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health and MedlinePlus, a service of the United States Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

  1. Probiotics are different from herbs in that they don’t seem to present much risk

While taking certain herbs may cause risks, this is usually not the case with probiotics. However, more research is needed about the role probiotics play when used by young people, senior citizens and people with lacking immune systems.

  1. When in doubt, talk to your doctor

This is especially important if you have a medical condition, take medications, are pregnant, breastfeeding or are thinking about surgery. Don’t trust the claims you see on the packages of probiotics, herbs, and supplements. Do your research or talk to your doctor.