Understanding Vitamin Nutrition is Power for Your Health!
In any grocery, drug, or health food store there are shelves filled to the brim with vitamin and mineral supplements; enough to make your head spin! How are we supposed to know which of these is best and will do the most for our nutrition and overall health?
VITAMIN TIPS FROM NATURE MADE
Most people are aware that it’s best to get vitamins and minerals through your food. A diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will provide your body with the nutrition it needs in the most natural way. However, sometimes we need additional assistance, which is readily available through supplements. As a woman, I know I need calcium for strong bones, especially since I have osteoporosis in my family. I am also recovering from outpatient knee surgery for a torn meniscus (cartilage) so I am particularly interested in supplements that address bone, joint, and cartilage health. Deralee Scanlon of the Nature Made Education Team had this advice:
DivaVillage: Are there vitamins that strengthen overall bone, joint, and cartilage health to help prevent problems before they occur?
A.Deralee: First and foremost, a balanced diet rich in antioxidants and a regular fitness routine are essential to joint health. Also, here are three vitamins/supplements that can help boost bone and joint health:
VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS FOR BONE & JOINT HEALTH
Multivitamins – A multivitamin provides a good base of essential vitamins and nutrients. Nature Made is currently the only major brand of multivitamins that contains 1,000 IU of vitamin D, the amount recommended by most health experts for bone, muscle, and overall health.
Calcium – Since bone undergoes continuous breakdown and formation from childhood to old age, adequate calcium intake is essential throughout every life stage. Calcium supplements with vitamin D to aid absorption help maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
Glucosamine-based supplement – Glucosamine is nature’s basic building block for maintaining joint cartilage and can help counteract some of the effects wear and tear has on the joints, rejuvenating comfort and mobility. In addition, glucosamine is a good choice because it’s supported by scientific studies and can help bring relief safely and naturally. Look for trusted brands that offer at least 1,500 mg of glucosamine, like Nature Made TripleFlex
I was very impressed with this nutrition quiz on Shereen Jegtvig’s Nutrition Blog on about.com. It can help you look at your lifestyle and eating habits and give you an idea of which supplements you might need to take.
WHEN & HOW TO TAKE VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS
Most health experts agree that vitamins are best taken with food, as they are more easily tolerated and absorbed by the system. Calcium is highly beneficial taken at night, before bed, as it is a natural muscle relaxer and can help calm your mind, contributing to a good night’s sleep. If you are taking large amounts of supplements, it is best to spread intake out over the day as opposed to swallowing a great number of pills at once. Many supplements are available in liquid form, or can be mixed into drinks if you are not an accomplished pill swallower. Don’t forget, there is always fruity Flintstones chewables!
Be warned that taking supplements can’t make up for a diet that is unhealthy. Be sure to read the labels to make sure you take the right dose; too many supplements can be harmful. Also remember that your particular body may not need certain supplements, and with the cost of some being enough to make your head spin, you don’t want to be flushing your money down the toilet. Wouldn’t you rather have a cool new handbag, book, or donate to a charity with that money?
ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT TAKING VITAMINS
Asking your health care professional about supplements is always a good approach if you are interested in starting a supplement program. Your doctor knows you and your health history, so he or she is in the best position to make recommendations that will keep you feeling healthy and happy and not wasting money on vitamins and minerals your body doesn’t need. As with so many things in life, knowledge is power when it comes to supplements, so remember your body and your lifestyle before you go randomly plucking bottles off the shelves in your local store. Vitamin and mineral supplements can be an important stepping stone to better health for you, just make sure you know what you’re getting.