Do I need to take Multivitamins if I eat Healthy?

multivitamin pills

(HealthCastle.com) We reported that a National Institutes of Health panel of experts released a statement about multivitamins on May 17, 2006. The experts concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support a recommendation either for or against taking multivitamins, leaving many of us puzzled.

Do I need a multivitamin if I eat Healthy?

For most healthy adults under the age of 50, it is possible to acquire all required nutrients through eating food alone if you follow the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and avoid foods with empty calories.

2005 Dietary Guidelines
(2000-kcal diet)
Fruits at least 2 cups
Vegetables at least 2 1/2 cups
Calcium-rich foods 3 servings
Grains at least 3 servings of Whole Grains

Different people face different challenges in reaching optimum nutrition by food alone. We offer some quick and easy solutions to help tackle these challenges.

Challenge 1: Inadequate Fruits and Vegetables

Solutions:

  • Eat a serving of fresh fruit at lunch and dinner as dessert
  • Include a variety of vegetables for lunch and dinner. Choose dark green, leafy vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, Chinese bok choy and kale) as well as bright-colored vegetables (such as bell peppers, tomato, avocado, sweet potato and carrot)
  • Use fruits as snacks. Bring to work fruits that are easy to prepare (such as grapes, apple, banana, berries or cut-up melons).

Challenge 2: Inadequate Calcium

Solutions:

  • Instead of snacking on cookies, choose low-fat yogurt or low-fat cheese with fruits as snacks throughout the day
  • If you are not a cow's milk fan, try other calcium-rich beverages such as calcium-fortified orange juice, calcium-fortified soy or rice milk, or goat's milk
  • Try other calcium-rich foods such as tofu and canned fish with bones

Challenge 3: Inadequate Whole Grains

Solutions:

  • Choose whole grain bread when making sandwichesH
  • ave a serving of whole grain breakfast cereal or a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast
  • Snack on popcorn instead of chips on movie nights
  • Toss in brown rice, wild rice or barley in your soup

The Bottom Line

Taking a multivitamin daily is important to ensure optimum nutritional status for a certain population - particularly among pregnant and lactating women, as well as those with specific chronic diseases. For people older than 50 (men and women), a multivitamin or calcium/D supplement may be warranted as foods alone may be not able to deliver adequate calcium and Vitamin D to meet the increased needs. Always speak to your doctor or dietitian before starting a new supplement.

As fortified-foods are widely available, the expert panel recommended choosing a multivitamin with ingredients less than 100 percent of the daily value (% DV) to avoid toxicity.

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HealthCastle, founded in 1997, is the largest online nutrition community run by Registered Dietitians. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or dietitian. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.