In our last article, we talked about the difficulties of meeting recommended guidelines for essential nutrients. “Even if you follow a healthy diet, a busy lifestyle can make it difficult to obtain the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals from food alone,” says Elizabeth Somer, a leading registered dietitian and author of several books, including “The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals.”
So, how else can we get the nutrition we need? One easy way to maintain good nutrition is to enhance your diet with supplements. The problem for many is that the frequency of new studies combined with the staggering number of supplements available makes it increasingly confusing to know what is right.
To help you put nutrition news in context, Somer is debunking a few of the common misconceptions about dietary supplements:
Misconception 1: It’s realistic to obtain all essential nutrients from food.
Even experienced nutritionists have a hard time designing diets that provide all the essential nutrients for one day, while busy Americans often struggle to follow highly regimented diets. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but the best approach is to focus on eating nutrient-rich foods as much as possible, such as dark leafy greens (good source of lutein for eye health), colorful fruits, whole grains, healthy proteins, and fats (such as salmon, which is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA). Then fill the nutritional gaps with a daily moderate-dose, broad-range multivitamin. Another supplement I recommend is either a fish oil or a vegetarian source of DHA from algae, because DHA and EPA benefit eye, heart, and brain health,” says Somer.
Misconception 2: Multivitamins have no health benefits.
Although recent studies report that vitamin and mineral supplements do not lower one’s risk of heart disease or cancer, these supplements are still proven to be beneficial to one’s health. “If a study found that people who drank water had no lower risk for dementia, would you stop drinking water?,” asks Somer. Of course not, because water, like essential vitamins and minerals, is crucial to health and there is no controversy over its importance for human nutrition.
Misconception 3: Multivitamins are a waste of money.
Multivitamins are a relatively inexpensive tool to achieve proper nutrition. “No reputable health expert will argue that supplements can or should replace a good diet and a healthy lifestyle,” says Somer. However, multivitamins and nutritional supplements are one factor in a pattern of living that is known to maintain overall well-being. Think of multivitamins as an insurance policy for optimal nutrition they are meant to supplement, not replace, a healthy diet.
Do you use dietary supplements to reach your health goals?
For more nutrition information, visit http://www.vitaminsinmotion.com.