Most consumer OTC (over-the-counter) supplements are largely unregulated, says Mark Moyad, M.D., director of preventative and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Moyad explains that fewer people are checking that their OTC pills contain the types and amounts of nutrients listed on the label. He also tells, “When you’re taking a pill, you’re also taking a lot of not-natural stuff that’s in the pill – stuff like herbicides, pesticides, hormones, the stuff in the capsule or shell itself, allergens, and even sand, which is used a stabilizer.”
Supplements can be hugely helpful if you’re sick or trying to treat a specific medical condition, but if you’re healthy, the risks aren’t really worth it.
Unlike a supplement, you can’t eat a specific amount of these foods to ensure benefits, but by packing your diet with these foods, you’ll increase your health without the dangers supplements may pose.
For: Muscle Health
Details: Leucine helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis, maybe better than any other amino acid.
Foods: Lean beef, chicken, fish, turkey, and eggs.
NUTRIENT: NITRIC OXIDE
For: Penile and Heart Health
Details: Nitric oxide helps keep blood flowing to all parts of the body, including your private parts.
Foods: Beets and beetroot juice, spinach and bok choy (Chinese cabbage).
NUTRIENT: LUTEIN & ZEAXANTHIN
For: Eye Health
Details: Multiple studies have linked both these compounds to increased retinal health and lower rates of age-related macular degeneration.
Foods: Kale, spinach, and eggs. (Eat with avocado or olive oil, and the healthy fats in those foods will help your body absorb more nutrients.)
NUTRIENT: SALICYLIC ACID
For: Prevent Runaway Inflammation
Details: A natural aspirin. A study in Molecular Medicine found that salicylic acid appears to fight pain by controlling inflammation.
Foods: Asparagus, nectarines and the spices turmeric and paprika.
NUTRIENT: INSOLUBLE FIBER
For: Digestive Health
Details: Cleans out your digestive tract, and may clear carcinogens as well.
Foods: Beans, seeds, lentils, and bran.
For: Reduce Stress & Enhance Calm
Details: Linked to lower rates of anxiety and stress. May also sharpen thinking and improve mood.
Foods: Green Tea
For: Blood Pressure
Details: Potassium helps regulate sodium levels, even if you’re ingesting a lot of salt. This keeps your blood pressure from shooting through the roof even if your diet isn’t ideal.
Foods: Wild salmon, avocado, papaya, potatoes (with skin), prunes, dates and dried figs.
For: Prevents muscle and joint soreness, headaches, and migraines.
Details: Normalizes muscle and cell function.
Foods: All legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.) along with pumpkin and squash seeds.
For: Strong Urine Flow & Prostate Health
Details: Lowers bad cholesterol, increases heart health and prevents colon cancer.
Foods: Plant oils, pistachio nuts, sesame seeds and avocado.