NUTRITION GAL: Six Quick Tips on Taking Vitamins

By   |   February 1, 2011   |   Fitness

Nutrition Gal knows you want to eat healthy. You really do. But sometimes with life’s hectic schedule, it’s not so easy. That’s why, along with your healthy diet, you should add a multivitamin. Here are six quick tips on getting the right ones, adapted from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Choose a Daily Multivitamin. A daily multivitamin is an inexpensive nutrition insurance policy. Try to take one every day. A good place to find multivitamins is at

Get Some D. In addition to its bone health benefits, thereΓÇÖs growing evidence that getting some extra vitamin D can help lower the risk of colon and breast cancer. Aim for getting 1000 to 2000 IU of vitamin D per dayΓÇöthis likely will require an extra vitamin D pill, in addition to your multivitamin.

Think about Calcium. Calcium is an extremely important vitamin, particularly for women. After 30, a woman’s bone density begins to decline.  Therefore, women need to make sure they are getting an adequate amount of calcium to reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Besides dairy, some other great sources of calcium are sardines, fortified orange juice, tofu and green leafy vegetables.  Supplements can also be used, but stick to either calcium citrate or calcium carbonate. Aim for 1000 to 1500 mg daily and be sure to break up the dosing to increase absorption. You can get your calcium in a delicious chocolate. Try

Just Say No to “Megas.” In general, avoid mega-dose vitamins and mega-fortified foods. Higher doses of vitamin E may help to prevent heart disease, but in general, the amount in a standard multivitamin is enough to have health benefits. A standard multivitamin also has a day’s worth of folic acid, so you should avoid foods that have high amounts of folic acid added to them. Of course, vitamin D is an exception, as many people need more than the recommended daily allowance.

Avoid “Super” Supplements. DonΓÇÖt be swayed by the wild health claims of the many health supplements advertised on TV and the Internet. If they sound too good to be true, you can be sure they are. Save your money for healthy food and a good vacation!

Eat a Healthy Diet. A multivitamin provides some insurance against deficiencies but is far less important for health than healthy food patterns. Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and healthy oils, and low in red meat and unhealthy fatsΓÇölet the Healthy Eating Pyramid be your guide.

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