Island News

Food versus vitamin supplement

Written By : with Nabeelah. Vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) are essential for normal growth and to stay healthy. They are required in small amounts and are best obtained from the
20 Nov 2010 12:00

Written By : with Nabeelah. Vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) are essential for normal growth and to stay healthy.
They are required in small amounts and are best obtained from the variety of food you eat on a regular basis.
Though, many health experts agree that food is the best source of vitamins and minerals.

Why are foods better than supplements?
r Pills can never supply the vast array of nutrients you get in whole foods. Many foods, particularly minimally processed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, also contain thousands of components (e.g. antioxidants and other phytochemicals) which are thought to provide health benefits, so you can miss out on these if you are just taking purified supplements.
r Taking nutrients in large quantities in the purified form – such as beta-carotene – has been associated with increased risk of some cancers. Whole foods generally do not carry such risks, as the micronutrients are present in less concentrated form.
r While it is generally difficult to have too much of most vitamins and minerals from food sources, dietary supplements may contain many times the recommended daily intake, and an overdose resulting from inappropriate use is possible.
r Very large doses of certain vitamins may be toxic (e.g. excessive vitamin A during early pregnancy can cause fetal malformation).
r Ironically it is those that least require additional vitamins or minerals that regularly take supplements – generally those that have healthy diets and lifestyles.

So who may need supplements?
There are some cases where supplements may be recommended in addition to a varied diet.
It is important that you consult a doctor if you think you need to supplement your diet.



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