Do You Need to Take Your Vitamins?
Taking your daily vitamins is a quick, easy way to boost your overall health. Or is it? Do vitamins really make a difference? Is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and other foods packed with vitamins sufficient for good health? Or do you need to take your vitamins as well?
A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicated that generally nine out of 10 people in the United States are getting enough of some vital nutrients and vitamins. However, some groups were significantly lacking in vitamin D, iron and iodine.
Vitamin D is important for bone health. Get a few (few!) rays of sun without your UV protection to boost your vitamin D intake: 15 minutes a day is ample. Foods rich in vitamin D include fish (think tuna or salmon), some dairy products (look for vitamin D on the label), egg yolks and fermented cheese. If you want to take a vitamin D supplement, 1,000 IUs daily is sufficient.
Iron can be found in red meat (two servings a week won't hurt you!), poultry, seafood, beans and dark green leafy vegetables. Popeye got a lot of iron by eating all that spinach. However, your body will absorb the most iron from meats as opposed to any other sources (including an iron supplement). Vitamin C will help your body better absorb iron as well, and comes in a variety of delicious options, including grapefruits, kiwis, melons, oranges, peppers, leafy greens, tomatoes and several varieties of berries.
Iodine is necessary for a healthy thyroid. Iodine can be found in iodized table salt and in eggs, milk and yogurt. A daily multivitamin containing iodine is a great option here. Taking a multivitamin is a terrific way to cover your bases if you worry that your diet may be lacking in some areas. But your diet is your first line of defense when trying to get the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals. The more mixed-up and colorful, the better!
Before taking supplements, keep in mind that massive doses of some vitamins may be at best useless and a worst damaging. When in doubt, ask your doctor. Also keep in mind that some medications may be affected by your vitamin levels, so any plans to take vitamin supplements should be discussed with your physician if you are on medication.