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Staying Healthy May Be A Tough Pill To Swallow

More than 150 million Americans take dietary supplements according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement industry trade group. But what’s surprising is more than 25 million Americans can't or won't swallow pills, primarily out of fear, which means they could be missing out on essential nutrition by not being able to take vitamin and mineral supplements.

Practice makes perfect
Swallowing pills is a skill that takes practice. It's not natural for our bodies to swallow a solid substance without chewing it first. If you—like so many others—find this process difficult, you may want start by practicing with something small. One idea is to try a tiny pill substitute like mini-M & M's and then work up to regular sized M & M's. Once you’ve mastered that, you’re ready to ease yourself into the real thing.

Tips for Smooth Sailing
There are some simple tricks you can try to make staying healthy easier to swallow.
  • When taking capsules, put your head down toward your chest – capsules float and will pop up to the back of your throat.
  • With tablets, put your head back since tablets do not float. This will put your tablet in prime position in the back of the throat for easy transit.
  • Take with a glass of carbonated water. Drinking through a straw may also help.
  • Crush tablets or break open capsules and mix contents with one of your favorite foods, which don’t require any chewing. Consider applesauce, ice cream or yogurt.
  • Split tablets into halves or quarters when possible.

Life can be hard to swallow, but staying healthy shouldn't be. Remember to remain patient and keep practicing. Before you know it, you’ll be gulping down better nutrition like it’s water.  
Published September 22, 2009
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