As fall approaches, we have already begun to prepare for the rigours of winter. What about vitamin and mineral supplements?
Vitamins and diet
In summer, it’s easy to add colour to our plates—yellow corn on the cob, red cherry tomatoes, and green cucumbers from the garden. Fall also brings its share of colours, embellishing the landscape, but what happens to the quality of our diet when the cold settles in?
It’s a well-known fact—a balanced diet is the basis for healthy living. One of the issues at the heart of current social concerns is eating well. There is a variety of television shows on cooking and gastronomy, a marked interest for organic products and the endless battle against fast food are all examples of people’s interest for healthy eating.
Just like certain animals make provisions for the winter, why not take advantage of the approach of fall to ask yourself about nutrition and taking vitamin and mineral supplements? Many people wonder about that, especially individuals who worry that their diet may not provide all of the essential nutrients for good health.
Here is some information on the subject.
Maintaining healthy eating habits
If you are in the habit of eating healthy, there’s a good chance that your nutritional needs are being met. One effective way to ensure a balanced diet is to follow the daily recommendations of the Canada Food Guide. It provides several strategies intended to help you to make better dietary choices every day.
Among other things, it recommends that you:
- make water your main beverage
- eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- opt for whole grain foods and protein
- cook more often
- be aware of your dietary habits
- take the time to savour your food
- enjoy your meals in good company
Vitamin D: the summer vitamin
One of the most important functions of vitamin D is maintaining bone health. This vitamin is mainly produced by the skin in response to sun exposure. Certain foods also provide vitamin D. It is estimated that sun exposure is the main source of vitamin D; therefore, it is easier to fulfill daily needs during the summer when the sun is most present.
For the remainder of the year, many people should consider taking a vitamin D supplement in particular. If you are over 50, experts recommend taking 800 to 2000 IU of vitamin D per day. If you are a healthy adult between the age of 19 and 50, you need 400 to 1000 IU per day.
In reality, few people manage to meet their recommended vitamin needs. Ask your pharmacist to help you determine what your vitamin D intake should be and how you should go about achieving it.
Vitamin and mineral supplements: an interesting option
If, like many North-Americans, you don’t always follow the Canada Food Guide’s recommendations to the letter, you could consider taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement with the recommendation of a healthcare professional.
These supplements do not replace healthy eating, they complete it. There are several formulations on the market and it can sometimes be difficult to make an informed choice. Ask your pharmacist to help you determine which product is best for you by keeping in mind the following information:
Here are a few tips regarding vitamin and mineral supplements:
- Take them every day as indicated by the product manufacturer.
- Do not take more than is recommended.
- Take them with food unless indicated otherwise by your pharmacist.
- Ask your pharmacist if you should take the supplements at a different time than your other medication, as they may reduce the absorption of certain medications.
- Choose a supplement according to your specific needs. For example, you may choose a product containing more calcium, iron or vitamin D.
Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for additional information about vitamin and mineral formulations.