Vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy body. If you eat a diet high in rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy products, chances are you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. In fact, your body actually absorbs nutrients from foods better than it does from vitamin and mineral supplements.
However, if you’re like many Americans, you might play it safe by taking a dietary supplement just in case you're not getting all the nutrients you need from your food. But which supplements are necessary? Let's take a look at some common types of vitamin supplements and the reasons you might choose to take them.
Multivitamins get the go-ahead from most healthcare providers, since they provide a variety of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Multivitamins are a great choice for busy people who want to make sure they get their daily allotment of vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin D promotes bone health and is typically absorbed through sunlight. If you aren’t often exposed to the sun, are over 50 or have dark skin, take vitamin D supplements to meet your daily quota.
Calcium also promotes bone health and is most often found in dairy products. If you’re not keen on dairy, try a calcium supplement, but don’t take more than 500 milligrams at a time. You can pair calcium supplements with vitamin D to improve calcium absorption.
Potassium can help with blood pressure and counteract the effects of excessive sodium intake. It is best to get your potassium from fruits and vegetables, like bananas, leafy greens, oranges, sweet potatoes and melon. Only take a potassium supplement if your doctor recommends it.
Omega-3 supplements are packed with fatty acids like DHA and EPA, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and play a role in immune function. Pick a supplement that contains both DHA and EPA to reap all the benefits.
It’s safe to say that some other vitamins, like beta-carotene, folic acid, iron and selenium, can be accounted for through your diet. If you’d like to learn more about the specific ways supplements can impact your diet, consult a registered dietitian at Goshen Health.