Today was busy. I worked out from 5:30-7am, went to work from 8-5, came home just to let the dog out, and then went to class from 5:40-9:10pm.
Even though this is my “regular” day, each and everyone has their own “regular” and hectic schedules when it comes to balancing work life, family life, social life, and hobbies. So where does that put nutrition….on the back burner? I for one know my nutrition is not where it should or could be.
Green leafy vegetables…I believe we have met before? Citrus fruits filled with vitamin C….can I get that in a pill form? Antioxidants…that’s the resveratrol in my red wine, right?
So how can I fix my nutrition dilemma? Plan ahead and make meals for the week? Been there done that…to the point where I can’t stand eating most food as I have eaten the same thing for weeks at a time. Stock my fridge with healthy food that eventually turns into food waste? Spend money every lunch and dinner? Or, supplement my diet with, well…..supplements?
Perusing the supplement aisle I feel like I should be a super hero with all the products that promise to prevent illness, improve energy, boost metabolism, or even brighten my skin. Today’s supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and more. They come in a variety of forms including: tablets, capsules, powders, gummies, or even drinks. However, it’s not recommended to use supplement as the main source of essential and non-essential nutrients. I mean, they are called supplements for a reason…to supplement your diet when you might need help getting adequate amounts of essential nutrients.
So why not use supplements as a source of nutrition?
- The Dietary Guidelines for American recommend nutritional needs should be met through diet.
- Supplements can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods
- Whole foods contain a variety of micronutrients your body needs that cannot be made into a pill
- Whole foods provide dietary fiber which can help prevent certain disease and manage constipation
- Whole food contain naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, that may help protect you against certain disease states.
So who needs supplements?
- Women who may become pregnant (400 micrograms of folic acid/day)
- Women who are pregnant (prenatal vitamin)
- Adults age 50 or older (Vitamin B12)
- Adults age 65 or older (800 IU of vitamin D)
- Those individuals who consume less than 1,500 calories/day
- Individuals who are a vegan or vegetarian
But first, talk to your health care provider before making any large changes to your diet.