Let’s talk about vitamins! We all know that vitamins are essential for good health. They enable our bodies to perform various functions that keep us alive and well, such as supporting the immune system, promoting healthy skin and hair, and aiding in energy production.
Vitamins also work alongside minerals, proteins, and other nutrients to combat infections and repair tissues. Having enough life-giving vitamins is crucial to living a healthy life, and the only way to get enough is from one or both of two sources: diet or synthetic vitamin supplements.
Benefits of Getting Vitamins from Natural Food Sources
Getting your vitamins from natural sources has several advantages. One such advantage is that natural food sources of vitamins are usually packed with other beneficial nutrients, such as fiber, minerals, and antioxidants that can help boost overall health. Plus, natural sources of vitamins are usually easier for the body to absorb and utilize than supplements. And getting your vitamins from natural sources can be more cost-effective than purchasing multiple supplements.
Natural Sources of Vitamins
A diet that emphasizes plant-based foods, with some animal-based products, is an excellent way to obtain vitamins naturally. With a focus on having larger amounts of fruits and vegetables, it’s fairly easy to get your daily recommended intake of vitamins.
Fruits and Vegetables: These should make up the bulk of your diet. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins A, E, C, and K—making up a majority of the essential vitamins your body needs.
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E and B vitamins.
Dairy Products: Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are rich in calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health.
Grains and Legumes: Whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, are rich in B vitamins.
Knowing When to Supplement
While food is the best source of vitamins, there are instances where supplements may be necessary. For example, if you have a restrictive diet, you may not be getting enough vitamins from food alone. Or, if you live in areas with limited sun exposure, you may require a vitamin D supplement. Chronic medical conditions or absorption issues can also cause vitamin deficiencies that may require supplementation.
Types of Vitamin Supplements Available
There are two main types of vitamin supplements: synthetic and natural. Synthetic vitamins are artificially made and contain nutrients in isolated forms that may not be as beneficial as those from natural sources. On the other hand, natural or whole food supplements contain concentrated forms of vitamins derived from natural sources such as fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
The Pros and Cons of Taking a Vitamin Supplement
While vitamin supplements can be an excellent way to bridge nutrient gaps or treat deficiencies, they should not replace a healthy diet. It is important to note that some supplements can interact with medications, causing negative side effects, so be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any vitamin supplement regimen to determine the right type and dosage for your health needs.
Overall, getting vitamins naturally is always the best approach to getting your vitamins, but if you suspect a deficiency, talk with your doctor or naturopath (a naturopathic doctor uses natural remedies to enable the body to self-heal) about incorporating a vitamin supplement.