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How To Read Supplement Labels

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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“How to read supplement labels?” is one of the common questions asked by our readers. You do your research in order to choose the best supplement for your needs. But while research will help you know what you’re looking for, it takes label-reading skills to make sure what you discovered through research is actually in the bottle.

Some supplement labels misrepresent what’s inside. However, the majority of supplement labels give you a good idea of the contents. Companies like HCF AminoScience, NutriGold, or NOW Foods are industry pioneers in implementing true labeling standards, making sure what’s on the label is in the bottle.

But these principles apply to more than just supplements. They apply to food as well.

How Do You Begin to Get Back On Track?

Brain Supplements

Really take a look at what you’re eating, and become acquainted with the terms portion or serving size, and other keywords like saturated fats, dietary fiber and other vitamins and minerals that may be in your food. All it takes is a little time to read these labels, and to do a little research on the ingredients to see what you thought was so healthy is anything but.

Your Brain Can Thrive or Suffer

There are many important organs and body parts that can thrive or suffer from what you’re consuming each day.[1][2] The negative things we consume can bring about a bevy of side effects and symptoms that are less than pleasant, and even have the potential to permanently damage organs over time.

What is the most important part of your body that needs to know what you’re eating?

Hands down, it would have to be the brain, for many reasons. The most basic reason would be that the brain is the part of your body that has reasoning capabilities and cohesive thought processes that can actually internalize and use the information of what you’re eating and its nutritional content.[3][4][5] The brain has the ability to make changes, and the other organs undoubtedly must follow suit with healthier eating attempts if you decide that’s what you need to do.

Why else does your brain need to know what you’re eating?

Well, your brain is like a command central, sending commands and functionary goals to the other organs, and this is based on the nutrients and care that it receives. While bad cells or materials cannot infiltrate the brain in most cases due to the brain blood barrier,[6] this isn’t the same for all other organs, so it’s important for the brain to send informational or warning messages to the rest of your body to preserve your health. 

So how do you start the process of feeding your brain the right information, and filling it with the proper nutrition it needs to keep it running at optimum levels? You need to start filling your body with good, healthy food.

Fast ‘Junk’ Foods You Need to Avoid

Junk foods

There are definitely things in the kitchen, grocery or fast food restaurant that you need to avoid – but what are they? While there are the usual suspects like refined sugar, trans fats, loads of carbs and synthetic chemicals that are typically found in candies and other fast ‘junk’ foods, there are actually foods that are given the reputation of being healthy, when in reality – they’re not. 

The baked potato is basically starch on a plate and offers not even a scrap of nutritional value to make it worth the calories. Diet soda, while offering fewer calories, isn’t actually that much better for you, and has many chemicals in it that have been linked to cancer, while also ramping you up with unusually large doses of caffeine. 

Rice, including brown rice, isn’t so good for you either, as this is a processed grain, and the minute that you eat rice, it will become converted to sugar in your system. A salad, if slathered in dressing, cheese, and croutons, is just as bad as a sandwich or wrap, and depending on the vegetable content, may actually offer very little nutritional content.

Another food snafu to avoid is anything that is pasteurized and processed, this is for many reasons. Pasteurization was only created to boil and sterilize food for the elderly, so they wouldn’t become ill and die, so if you’re not elderly, as a general rule, avoid pasteurized foods, as they are low in nutritional content and taste. 

When it comes to processed foods it’s the same situation, as foods that are highly processed are filled with chemicals and fillers, and lose their nutritional value completely.[7][8] Not only do these types of products contain almost no nutritional content – but they are destroying the amino acids in unprocessed forms of the food! The amino acids are the building blocks of life, and can only be ingested into the system through food, so don’t cheat yourself by losing out on amino acids.

Eat Amino-Acid Based Brain Foods

Amino-Acid Based Brain Foods

Instead, you need to be looking for products that offer you the amino acids that are needed to keep you healthy, and this is something that you’ll find by reading your food labels closely. So what foods really do offer large amounts of necessary amino acids? 

Any foods containing protein,[9][10] a marker on food labels, like chicken and beef will have large amounts of amino acids, as amino acids are simply chains that make up proteins. If you’re not a meat eater then don’t worry, as you have your options. Try eating seeds, nuts, and beans, as these are great for vegetarians who are trying to get the amino acids into their diet.[11]

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