Your Multi-Vitamin and Nutrition Month

by Jessica B. March 13th, 2012 | Health Observance, Vitamins
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It’s time to celebrate National Nutrition Month, and what better way to honor it than to review one of the basic elements to healthy eating we often take for granted, a multi-vitamin.

I don’t know if you are like me, but sometimes I find I rely a bit too heavily on my multi-vitamin. I mostly eat a very healthy, balanced home cooked diet, but some days, I get a bit too busy. I don’t have time to get everything done, so I grab something quick instead. I just say to myself, “that’s ok, I took my multivitamin. I should be OK for today.” And while there is some value in not letting one bad day weigh you down, I often wonder is it right to depend on our multi-vitimins to take care of our basic health needs?

The truth about vitamins in pill form is still a little vague on the research front, especially if we are busy categorizing all vitamins into one giant group. There are some which you need to be careful of taking too much of, like Vitamin A and Calcium, and there are some you can be a little more comfortable taking a bit more of, like Vitamin D.

You want to be careful about mixing your multi-vitamin with other vitamins. Chances are your multi-vitamin provides enough of what you need so that you don’t need additional supplements.

But what a multi-vitamin cannot do is give you the same guarantee of healthy stuff as eating a healthy diet does. So really, when I make that excuse to myself as I eat junk food, that I am still getting my daily nutrition in, it is a bit of a cop out.

The best source of your vitamins and nutrients is food, not a multi-vitamin. Mixed vegetables, fruits, nuts and an assortment of grains is the way your body is built to process vitamins, and the way it is most effective. By food I don’t mean vitamin-fortified foods either. These also can be more difficult for the body to process and should not be considered among the natural sources of vitamins.

So to answer my question – is your multi-vitamin enough?

No, it isn’t. A multi-vitamin cannot make up for an unhealthy diet. You need to make sure you are eating a balanced diet full of vitamin-rich foods. If you are eating a balanced diet, chances are, you may not even need a multi-vitamin.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.