Eating Your Vitamins vs. Taking Supplements / by Brittney Hogan

We have all grown up being told to take our vitamins. However, recent studies have shown that taking vitamin supplements may not be very good for our health in the long run. Here is the skinny:

Many people think that taking vitamins means that they are getting all of the nutrients they need. This is not true. "Supplements aren't intended to be a food substitute because they can't replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods" (Mayo Clinic, 2016). Nutritional needs should be met primarily through our diet, and if in the case our bodies can't absorb the nutrients, or we require more than what is found in foods, then supplements can be taken.

Benefits of Whole Foods - 

  • Whole foods are complex providing you with a variety of the micronutrients your body needs.
  • Whole foods provide dietary fiber that you won't find in supplements.
  • Whole foods contain protective substances like phytochemical that protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Benefits of Supplements - 

  • Pregnant women need more vitamins and minerals than they can receive by eating vitamin rich whole foods.
  • Women and men over the age of 50 should take supplements, as their bodies are no longer able to completely absurd nutrients from certain foods. Therefore, they need to get it from other sources as well. 

Risks of Supplements - 

Recent studies have shown that the use of some vitamin supplements like calcium, vitamin A and beta-carotene increase the risk of "kidney stones, strokes and even a great risk of dying over periods of time" (Consumer Lab, 2016). 


Below we have put together a list of vitamins and minerals, which includes their benefits and what foods naturally contain them.


Calcium

  • Fortifies your teeth + bones
  • Naturally found in yogurt, dark leafy greens + fruit
  • One serving / day of any 3


Vitamin E

  • Protects cells from harmful molecules
  • Naturally found in sunflower seeds + almonds
  • 2-3 servings / week

Iron

  • Forms hemoglobin in red blood cells
  • Naturally found in red meat, lentils + beans
  • One serving / week of any 3

Folate

  • Aids in new tissue formation in the body + helps to prevent birth defects if pregnant
  • Naturally found in dark leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts + dairy
  • One serving / week

Vitamin A

  • Helps with vision
  • Naturally found in sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, winter squash, lettuce, dried apricots fish, liver
  • 2-3 times / week

Vitamin K

  • Clots your blood
  • Naturally found in green leafy vegetables
  • One serving / week

Vitamin B6

  • Helps with metabolism + fights infection
  • Naturally found in beans, fish or chicken
  • One serving / day of any of 3

Vitamin B12

  • Improves nervous system function + red blood cell formation
  • Naturally found in fish, chicken and red meat
  • One serving / day of any 3

 

For an extensive list of other healthy foods you should be eating, check out our FREE
OH! (Optimum Health) Wellness Plan