ask me this question quite often: 'Should I be taking certain
vitamins and supplements?' And the answer is, quite honestly,
'It depends,'" says Anne Harguth, registered dietitian at
Mayo Clinic Health System.
to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should meet your
nutritional needs primarily through diet. For some people,
however, taking certain supplements may be the best way to get
nutrients they may be lacking through diet. So, Harguth
cautions, its important to understand the exact impact
supplements will have on your body before getting out your
food is not to be replaced by supplements, as supplements
cannot replicate all the health benefits of whole foods. For
example, fruits and vegetables carry many different nutrients
that provide health benefits to the human body. So, depending
on your diet and current physical state, spending money on
supplements may not be necessary. Listed below are Mayo
Clinic's three main benefits to whole foods vs. supplements:
nutrition. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of
the micronutrients your body needs not just one. An
orange, for example, provides vitamin C plus some beta
carotene, calcium and other nutrients. It's likely these
compounds work together to produce their beneficial effect.
fiber. Whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables
and legumes, provide dietary fiber. Most high-fiber foods are
also packed with other essential nutrients. Fiber, as part of
a healthy diet, can help prevent certain diseases, such as
type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can also help manage
substances. Whole foods contain other substances important for
good health. For example, fruits and vegetables contain
naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which
may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes
and high blood pressure. Many are also good sources of
antioxidants substances that slow down oxidation, a
natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.
and mineral supplementation is recommended for some people
with certain conditions. Supplements may be appropriate for
Don't eat well or consume less than 1,600 calories a day.
a vegan or a vegetarian who eats a limited variety of foods.
Don't obtain two to three servings of fish a week. If you have
difficulty achieving this amount, some experts recommend
adding a fish oil supplement to your daily regimen.
a woman who experiences heavy bleeding during your menstrual
a medical condition that affects how your body absorbs or uses
nutrients, such as chronic diarrhea, food allergies, food
intolerance, or a disease of the liver, gallbladder,
intestines or pancreas.
had surgery on your digestive tract and are not able to digest
and absorb nutrients properly.
sum it up, if you're a pretty healthy person with a
well-balanced diet containing a wide variety of foods
including fruits, vegetables, reduced fat dairy products,
whole grains, legumes, lean meats and fish you most likely
dont need supplements," adds Harguth. "Talk to
your health care team and dietitian if you have questions or