For many people, getting the recommended daily amount of nutrients from food alone is unrealistic. Few people have the time and money to buy and prepare the array of unprocessed “whole foods” they would need to consume every day. But don’t despair. This article offers a practical way to get the nutrients you need without radically changing your routine or breaking the bank.
Source 1: Food
In a perfect world, everyone would get all the nutrition they need from food. Of course, hectic schedules and the irresistible convenience of packaged foods and drive-thru windows ensure that few people do. If always getting the nutrients you need from food is unrealistic given your lifestyle, that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. Do your best to “eat healthy” since sometimes is better than never.
By now, everyone knows the benefits of a healthy diet, which foods to eat and which to avoid. Eat fruits and veggies, lean protein, and fiber-rich foods; avoid processed food, saturated fat, and excess sugar. That advice may be more aspirational than practical but it’s something to strive for even if you can’t do it every day.
Source 2: Daily Multivitamin
For many people, a daily multivitamin is an essential part of a nutritionally balanced diet. Unfortunately, most vitamin brands pack in way more than the recommended amounts of many vitamins. If you’re comfortable taking hundreds or even thousands of times the amounts of vitamins you need, fine. If you subscribe to the conventional wisdom that excess vitamins you don’t use will simply be “flushed out”, have at it. But remember, there is such a thing as vitamin toxicity. Long-term consumption of excess amounts can harm you. In rare instances, excessive amounts of certain nutrients (for example, calcium, iron, and Vitamin A) reportedly have caused permanent injury and death.
If you prefer to take the recommended amounts of vitamins and not the maximum amounts that are considered safe, you could try breaking a typical multivitamin in half. Of course, this is hardly an ideal solution. For example, if your current multi provides 18,000% of Vitamin B12 (as some brands do), you’ll still be getting 800 times more than the recommended amount! Also, you can’t break capsules, and breaking tablets can leave sharp edges that make them hard to swallow.
If you’re more a “just enough” than “never enough” person, Dr. Siegal’s Just Enough brand “recommended potency” multivitamins may be the right solution for you. They provide a daily nutritional foundation upon which to build. Unlike other vitamin brands, which typically provide hundreds or thousands of times the recommended DV%, these provide no more than 100%.
Source 3: Single-Nutrient Supplements for Those Who Need More
Some people need greater amounts of particular nutrients due to medical conditions or lifestyle factors. If you’re one of them, you can easily supplement the nutrition you get from your multivitamin and food with one or more single nutrient supplements such as Vitamin A, calcium, and Vitamin D3. This is a targeted and sensible way to get increased amounts of specific nutrients you need without piling on excess amounts of others.
Sounds Like a Plan
And there you have it. Your busy schedule needn’t keep you from getting balanced nutrition every day. A daily multivitamin can provide your nutritional foundation—that is, the amounts of essential nutrients recommended for most people. Single nutrient supplements can provide additional amounts of particular nutrients if you need them. Finally, do your best to eat unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods.