Daily vitamins can be a wise addition to your daily diet to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs. Most people are lacking in a handful of specific nutrients, according to information on the American Academy of Family Physicians website, and reviewing your diet with your doctor can help you determine if your diet contains adequate nutrition.
You can make up for the lack of specific nutrients by eating foods rich in that particular nutrient, which is what the Academy recommends to ensure your body absorbs all the nutrients properly. Another choice is to take a single multivitamin that covers all your needs so you don’t have to go nuts with loads of different vitamins and supplements.
What nutrients are people typically lacking?
Three vitamins and four micronutrients are generally sparse in the average American diet. These are Vitamins A, C, and E, along with calcium, potassium, fiber, and magnesium. The Harvard School of Public Health notes that Vitamin D is also often lacking.
What do these vitamins do and how can I get them?
Your eyes rely on Vitamin A, as do your body’s cells. Certain vegetables have high amounts of Vitamin A, including pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, and carrots. Cantaloupe is big on the vitamin and you can also get it packed in liver, giblets, and other organ meats.
Vitamin C is essential for helping your body make the protein collagen, which is a necessary component in muscle, bones, cartilage, and blood vessels. Get your Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables rich in the nutrients. Fruits with a lot of Vitamin C include oranges, kiwi, strawberries, cantaloupe, papaya, and pineapple. Vegetables include raw bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin D gets a nod for contributing to strong bones and muscles, maintaining a healthy immune system, and lowering the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Not a lot of foods are full of Vitamin D. Dairy products and cereals fortified with the vitamin are a good bet for getting extra D, as are fatty fish like tuna and salmon.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps your body fight off cell damage. Go for Vitamin E with certain seeds and nuts, like sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and peanuts. Turnip greens are packed with Vitamin E, as are peanut butter and spinach. Tomato products such as tomato paste, sauce, and puree also contain hearty doses of Vitamin E.
What do these nutrients do and how can I get them?
Calcium is good for your bones, either to build them or maintain them. You can find calcium in dairy products; with low-fat dairy the healthier choice over high-fat milk, cheese, and yogurts.
Fish has a hearty dose of calcium, as do soybeans, white beans, and certain other types of beans. Two more good calcium sources are spinach and oatmeal.
Your blood pressure relies on adequate levels of potassium to help maintain it at a healthy level. Go for sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and beans to include hearty levels of potassium in your diet.
Milk, yogurt, and fish are rich in potassium, as are certain fruits, such as peaches, bananas, cantaloupes, and honeydew melons. Tomato juice, paste, and sauce also contain notable amounts of potassium.
Fiber plays a starring role in your health, assisting with digestion, helping you feel full longer, and possibly decreasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Find fiber in whole-grain breads and cereals, bran, brown rice, and oatmeal. Beans are high in fiber, with navy, kidney, pinto, and black beans leading the pack.
Certain fruits and vegetables contain notable amounts of fiber. These include pears, prunes, figs and dates, spinach, artichokes, green peas, sweet potatoes, oranges, apples, and raspberries.
Magnesium assists your body with producing energy and ensures proper functioning of your heart, muscles, and arteries. Magnesium-rich foods include brown rice, tofu, bran cereal, and certain nuts, such as Brazil nuts, peanuts, almonds, and cashews.
Pumpkin, spinach, and artichokes are packed with magnesium. You can also find it in beans, with soybeans, white beans, and black beans having the highest amounts in the bean family.
Is there such a thing as a vitamin overdose?
While a vitamin overdose may not have the same effects of something like an alcohol or drug overdose, overloading on vitamins or other nutrients can be detrimental to your health. An overload can happen if you take a certain supplement or multivitamin and then eat a lot of food that has been fortified with that particular nutrient.
Reviewing your diet with your doctor remains the best bet for ensuring you get the right amount of vitamins and nutrients you need without jeopardizing your health in the process. Your doctor can recommend specific supplements or foods that meet your specific dietary needs based on various factors, such as your age, gender, lifestyle, existing conditions, and overall health profile.