SUMMER, SALDS AND SUPPLEMENTS: WHEN AND WHY WE NEED TO VITAMINS AND MINERALS
“Should I take a multivitamin?”, “Why can’t I get everything I need from my food?” and “How do I know what I need?” are common themes.
Eating a healthy, balanced rainbow diet (this means lots of different coloured fruit and vegetables) is a great start. However, the short answer is that even with a ‘perfect’ diet many things make it impossible for you to get nutrients you need solely from the foods you eat.
Find out what to take, what they help with and what to watch out for in this month’s article in The Sherborne Times. Check out my advice on ‘Summer, Salads and Supplements: When and why we need vitamins and minerals” p.90
One question I get asked a lot is: “I’m eating lots of salads at the moment, do I need to take additional vitamins?”
Eating a healthy, balanced rainbow diet (this means lots of different coloured fruit and vegetables) is a great start. However, the short answer is that even with a ‘perfect’ diet many things — including depleted soils and the storage and transportation of food— make it impossible for you to get nutrients you need solely from the foods you eat. While getting a high vitamin content of one type, you may find yourself still deficient in other areas so incorporating nutritional supplements can help lead to optimal health.
As with many things in life, less is more. Whilst I am a big supporter of supplements, don’t go overboard with the amount you take as your body can only cope with so many and you might end up with expensive wee! Supplements do exactly that, they supplement your lifestyle. Use them as a top-up to help maintain optimum vitamin and mineral levels. Do bear in mind that any pre-existing medical conditions and medication you may be taking may have an effect on these so do check with your practitioner.
There are always times when our body needs a helping hand, when we are tired and stressed, feeling run down and when our diet is not as balanced as we’d like it to be.
LET’S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING
There are a few common vitamins and minerals you may want to consider, however do start with the most beneficial nutritional support of all: water. Keeping well hydrated is essential, after all about 60% of our body is water and it’s essential for our maintaining and protecting our cells and organs as well as maintaining electrolyte and PH balance.
Keep well hydrated by increasing water, squash and herbal teas whilst being mindful of our caffeine intake. Consider the French style of drinking a glass of water alongside caffeinated drinks to replace the moisture.
WHAT TO TAKE
Beneficial for all:
- Multimineral & vitamin – ensures sufficient top-up across the board
- Essential Fatty Acids (including omega 3,6,9). EFAs protect cell membranes, aid hydration and support joints.
For specific areas:
- Vitamin B – energy production, immune function and iron absorption. Essential in tired and stressed times
- Vitamin C – support immune system and provide antioxidants
- Vitamin D – essential for healthy bones adults and children, particularly during Oct-March, plus support immune system and mind
- Magnesium – supports muscle function, bone growthand energy production, Essential for sporty types.
- Zinc – important mineral supports healthy immune system and growth of hair, skin and nails
For children, I recommend a multi supplement containing vitamins A, C and D. It is hard to ensure children eat a balanced diet as many have stages of being fussy eaters, so a broad spectrum supplement will support this.
ARE ALL VITAMINS THE SAME?
Unfortunately not, that would make life too easy! To ensure you get the maximum benefit and cost efficiency, try to look for the purest form available, ideally in a food soluble variety to allow maximum absorption. This may mean a change from your traditional high street brands but I am confident you will see a difference. My top picks for reasonable pricing include Neals Yard Remedies, Cytoplan, Nutri Advanced, Metabolics and BioCare.
THINSG TO WATCH OUT FOR:
There are some ‘fillers’ that are best to avoid:
- Bulking agents – to top up the content of the pills or capsules
- Binders – used to stick ingredients together in a tablet
- Anti-caking agents – to stop the ingredients clogging up machines
- Carriers – to maintain a powder consistency
- Preservatives – to save ingredients from spoiling
- Sweeteners – to add flavour. Look for words ending in -“ose”
This can be confusing so as said before, always seek advice. I’d be delighted to help identify your nutritional needs and muscle test to find out which supplements you really need to take. If in doubt, start with a good multimineral & vitamin and try adding even more colour into your salads.