It is true that the best source for vitamins and minerals is eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, grains, protein and omega 3 rich fish. The fact is that today many families are on the go and busy, and quite often the side of vegetables is is missing and the only fruit your kids are squeezing in is a glass of orange juice. Should you take a multivitamin?
Whether or not to take a multivitamin depends on your diet. If you are lactose intolerant, your kids are picky eaters, there are food allergies in your family or you are eating on the run more nights than you are sitting at the kitchen table, then there may be health benefits to taking vitamins. If you know you regularly eat a well balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, dairy, eggs, grains and meat and alternatives then you may not need an additional source of vitamins.
You eat healthy, so why take a multivitamin?
This list shows the key nutrients that should be a part of your families diet to maintain optimal health and looking for a multivitamin that includes these on its ingredient list may be a good option if your family is deficient in any area.
Beneficial for eyes, skin and immune system. Found in mango, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and grapefruit.
Beneficial for energy and creating red blood cells.
Found in peas, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado, bananas and mango.
Beneficial for growth and tissue repair and stronger immune system.
Found in oranges, red peppers, broccoli, grapefruit and strawberries.
Beneficial for strong bones, teeth as well as nerves, muscle and immune system. Found in eggs, dairy, chicken, beef and fortified juice and cereals.
Beneficial because it is an antioxidant and important to boost your immune system and fight viruses. Found in spinach, blackberries, kiwi and raspberries.
Beneficial to protect against heart disease, reduces symptoms of hypertension, depression, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), dementia, joint pain and boosts immune system. Found in fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon and in some fortified eggs and juice.
Beneficial to preventing constipation and it helps lower blood cholesterol, controls blood sugar levels and may also help prevent and treat a variety of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Found in peas, apples, pears, grains, barely, and beans.
If you have healthy fruit and vegetable eaters but they don’t like fish, then perhaps just an Omega 3 supplement is what is right for your family. Talk to your family doctor to determine if you or your kids need to take a multivitamin. They will review your typical weekly meal plan to determine what nutrients may be lacking and then look to increase those foods in your diet, or consider a supplement.
Remember, it’s the nutrients we need and not artificial colouring, flavours or sweeteners. Read the label carefully for the medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients and choose one that is specially formulated to meet your needs.
A good multivitamin acts like a back up plan and is a great way to enhance a balanced, healthy diet – not replace it. Including a daily multivitamin and supplements alongside fruits and vegetables will help to ensure your family gets all of the vitamins they need to be healthy and active!