As we all continue to do our best to stay young and healthy, I have always tried to be conscious of my eating habits. I feel I eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables, but I’m not quite sure it’s enough. Most of us want to “improve or maintain our overall health.” So I wanted to ask my doctor if and what supplements would be suitable for me. If you do some basic searching online, you can get completely overwhelmed in the supplement world. So many companies are looking to cash in on selling the secret formula that will help you stay younger than the others. You have to do your research to make the most informed decision for you.
When you think about the average American diet, it leaves a lot to be desired. Most families find their plates lacking in several essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and D. It’s no wonder that more than half of us open a supplement bottle to get the nutrition we need. I’d even say many people take supplements not just to make up for what we’re missing but also because we hope to give ourselves an extra health boost to ward off disease.
Getting our nutrients from a pill or powder sounds easy, but supplements don’t necessarily deliver on the promise of better health. Nutritionists recommend getting your vitamins and minerals from whole foods first. Most vegetables have dietary fiber that typically isn’t found in supplements, and supplements don’t allow for complete absorption of the vitamins. The vitamins from food are easier for your body to absorb than in supplement form. Having a complete meal is essential to nurturing the body. Whole foods are complex, which contain a variety of the micronutrients your body needs. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes provide dietary fiber.
While diet is the key to getting the best vitamins and minerals, supplements can help.
If you can’t seem to work fish into your diet once or twice a week, fish oil (omega-3) can help. The key is to ensure they are taken in addition to a healthy diet—their supplements, not replacements. So talk with your doctor first to determine what’s best for you.
Talk with your doctor about supplements if you have questions, but if you are a healthy adult who eats a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, and fish, you may not need any. I found personally that I need Vitamin D and Fish oil; after doing a blood test with my doctor. She determined that I needed more of each. I now take vitamin D to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body to keep my bones, teeth, and muscles healthy and Fish oil (omega -3) to help fight inflammation. With that said, be smart about your use of supplements. If you lack a particular nutrient, ask your doctor whether you need to look beyond your diet to make up for what you’re missing, but don’t take more than the recommended daily intake for that nutrient unless they advise it.