Supplements... should I be taking them?
There are a vast range of supplements available, from basic multi vitamins to complicated hormone supplements. I have had my fair share of trialling many different supplements, and to be honest all I take now is Fish Oil tablets, vitamin D & Calcium tablets.
There is certainly a place for supplements and multi vitamins. For example, people who do not meet the RDI (recommended daily intake) of vitamins or minerals. But you have to ask, why not just eat a healthy balanced diet? If you are taking a multi, does that mean you don't need to include as many vegetables and fruits day to day? Well, what are you eating instead? And here may lie the answer to a weight problem! I truly believe that if you eat a balanced diet enjoying whole grains, veggies (5 plus a day, mix up the colour!) fruit (2 pieces a day) low GI carbohydrates, lean meats or protein rich alternatives and some healthy fats (nuts, avo, olive or flax oil) each day then you should not need supplements. Just eat food! Real wholesome food.
Some people are vitamin B deficient, some are iron deficient, some calcium deficient etc, as tested by their doctors or heath professionals. Obviously in this case there is the option (or need) of supplementation. But again, the foods that contain all of these necessities are healthy and fill you up! So if you suspect a deficiency ... eat up on the right foods!
I eat a lot of fish, but still take a fish oil tablet a day. Time and time again, in numerous studies fish oil is proven to be a beneficial supplement. Definitely not a fad. My favourite benefit of fish oil is the positive affect on our joints - great for active people who get sore knees like me! Other benefits you can thank fish oil for down the track include: lower chance of heart disease, cancer and many other chronic diseases.
Vitamin D deficiency is now considered a major public health issue in Australia, with many of us not getting enough. The main source of vitamin D is sunlight on our skin. So coming out of summer I get a vitamin D supplement (any chemist has them over the counter). Many types also double with a calcium supplement which I choose to go for as the only dairy I eat is Greek yoghurt and sometimes a small amount of skim milk in my teas and long blacks. I just love almond milk!
There is of course the exception of mums planning babies needing folate supplementation ... a post for another day! Consult your heath professional for more details.
FYI! Due to noted deficiencies, The Australian Government has made it mandatory to fortify breads with vitamin B (thiamine), iodised salt (iodine) and folic acids (folate). All have great benefits, along with some dietary fibre - so enjoy some wholegrain or sourdough bread today.