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 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 Canada’s Food Guide. It provides several strategies intended to help you 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. It is also provided by certain foods. Sun exposure is thought to be the main source of vitamin D, so it's easier to meet your daily needs in summer when the sun is often out.
For the rest of the year, many people should consider taking a supplement of this particular vitamin. If you are over 50, experts recommend a daily intake of 800 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D. If you are a healthy adult between the age of 19 and 50, you need 400 to 1000 IU a day.
In practice, few people manage to meet their recommended vitamin needs. Ask your pharmacist to help you determine your vitamin D needs and how to meet them.
Vitamin and mineral supplements: an interesting option
If, like many North Americans, you don’t always follow the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide to the letter, you may want to consider taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, under the recommendation of a healthcare professional.
These supplements do not replace a healthy diet; they complement it. There are many 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, taking into account the following factors:
Here are a few tips on taking vitamin and mineral supplements:
- Take them every day as recommended by the product manufacturer.
- Do not take more than recommended.
- Take them with food, unless otherwise advised by your pharmacist.
- Ask your pharmacist if you should take the supplements at a different time than your other medications, as they may reduce the absorption of certain of them.
- 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.