Types of herbal nutritional supplements
PLANT DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS
What are food supplements?
A food supplement is a concentrated source of nutrients that helps meet specific nutritional needs.
Under normal circumstances, it is possible to assume all nutritional requirements through food, but in certain cases, supplementation may be appropriate: food allergies, intolerance, diseases, etc.
Food supplements can be concentrated sources of nutrients: fiber, proteins (amino acids), fats (omega 3, EPA, DHA, etc.), carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, or they can also be substances with a physiological effect such as enzymes, stimulants, probiotics, phytosterols, or plant extracts.
Food supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet or lifestyle. They are a reinforcement or part of the treatment, which must be complemented with the recommendations advised by the health professional.
On the packaging of food supplements, it always indicates the nutritional composition of the product, and what percentage (%) of the recommended daily amount it provides.
Plant-based food supplements
Food supplements can be of artificial or chemical origin, as is the case with most mineral supplements (magnesium carbonate, zinc gluconate, etc.), or they can come from natural foods (extracts of herbs, fruits, roots, etc. ).
Are medicinal plants also food supplements?
In the case of medicinal plants, their classification as a food supplement can be discussed, because in the dose provided by capsules or tablets, these plants do not have a nutritional effect, since they do not provide significant amounts of macro or micronutrients (fats, proteins , fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.).
Plants such as valerian, ginseng, hypericum or St. John’s wort, turmeric, ginger, garlic, thyme, ginkgo, maca, guarana, milk thistle, or rosemary should not be considered food supplements, because what we interest of these are their non-nutritive principles.
However, they are included within the name of food supplements because they have a physiological effect (flavonoids, alkaloids, gingerols, essential oils, etc.).
Herbal food supplements are the supplements that are sold in specialized stores, dietetics and online stores, and can also be found in pharmacies.
List of plant supplements
Some of the most used plant food supplements are:
Protein or amino acid supplements:
- Spirulina (rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals)
- Brewer’s yeast (rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals)
Vitamin and mineral supplements:
Pollen (very rich in beta carotene, pro-vitamin A)
*Related information: Contraindications of plant supplements, vitamins and minerals
More information on supplements and medicinal plants
23 August, 2022