The building blocks of supplements
A good foundation to start with is to take a good multivitamin and an omega supplement every day to ensure that you supplement your daily diet with the necessary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. For added immune system support (for example during winter) ingredients such as aspalathox from rooibos, I-lysine and antioxidants like vitamin A, C, E and selenium can assist on a daily basis.
Very important, especially for women, is a calcium and magnesium supplement that can be used daily for skeletal, bone and muscle support. The combination of these supplements: a multivitamin, an omega – , immune – , calcium – and magnesium supplement will form a strong foundation, and one can then add on other supplementation for condition specific support.
Why is a Multivitamin Important?
Ideally, you would get all the vitamins and minerals you need from foods you eat. Unfortunately, many people do not follow a healthy diet or a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis and it is therefore important to take a multivitamin supplement to ensure that you meet your daily nutritional needs. Another reality is that today’s lifestyle is fast paced. We are pressured to perform and getting all you need from your daily food intake takes planning. Possible reasons why you may need to take a nutritional supplement:
You eat few fruits, vegetables and whole grains (like most of us)
You’re on a low calorie diet.
Age – older individuals needs higher dosages of some nutrients.
Some medical conditions that affect how your body absorbs nutrients.
A good daily multivitamin can assist to make it easier to fill the gap to support your overall health.
When choosing a multivitamin, consider the following
Make sure the formulation contains the effective dosage of the active ingredients. The effective dosage may vary by nutrient and individual. An individual’s specific nutritional needs may vary depending on your age, health status and other factors (such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, illness, physical activity level, etc.) When choosing a multivitamin, always refer to the RDA of the active ingredients.
What is RDA? RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) is defined as the intake that meets the nutrient needs of almost all (97 – 98%) individuals in that gender group, at the given life-stage. It is therefore the goal for dietary intake by the individual.
Read the label carefully. Product labels identify which nutrients are included and the quantities contained within each serving.
Get the basic water soluble and fat soluble vitamins and minerals. Most multivitamin preparations usually include the following: vitamin C, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), folic acid (B9), B12 (cyanocobalamin), B5 (panthothenic acid), biotin, A, E, D, zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron.
Look for extras. Some multivitamins are available in a variety of formulations that are aimed at helping people with specific nutritional needs or conditions. Some multivitamins can contain additional select active ingredients like antioxidants, herbal extracts, or formulations that are specialized to specific conditions, like vitamins for people with diabetes.
Formulations specifically for men and women. Choosing a multivitamin designed for your gender has a lot of benefits as men and women have different nutritional needs.
Dietary guidelines and lifestyle recommendations for men and women:
The first step to protect yourself against chronic disease conditions is talking to your healthcare practitioner about your health risk factors and getting serious about reducing your risk. The most important thing is to manage the risk factors and get the recommended screenings.
Maintain a healthy weight and follow a healthy diet:
Increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat each day. Fruit and vegetables are full of nutrients and you need to eat at least 5 portions a day. You can increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat daily by adding an additional serving of a fruit or vegetable to each meal or by eating fruit and vegetables for snacks.
Eat more fat from plant sources than from animal sources. You can for example rather cook with olive oil than with butter, you can also sprinkle nuts or seeds on your salad rather than cheese.
Choose a low-fat diet. To reduce the amount of fat you eat daily, limit fatty foods or choose low-fat varieties. Foods that contain fats include meats, nuts, oils and dairy products, such as milk and cheese. Reducing the amount of fat you eat daily has other proven benefits, such as helping you control your weight and helping your heart.
Aim to drink 8 glasses of water per day.
Manage stress. Take steps to reduce stress or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways as stress can also have a negative effect on your immune system. Ways that one can deal with stress are:
Spend time with our family
Get a hobby that can help you to take your mind off the things that cause stress
Get moving. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Exercise can help you control your weight and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and even certain types of cancer. Choose the activities that you enjoy like brisk walking or ballroom dancing.
Don’t Smoke. If you are a smoker or use other tobacco products, asks your healthcare practitioner to help you quit and where possible avoid exposure to second hand smoke.
Limit your alcohol intake. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
University of Washington Medical Centre. UW National Centre of Excellence in women’s Health. Patient Education: Leading a Healthy Lifestyle. Accessed January 2015. http://depts.washington.edu/uwcoe/healthtopics/healthylife.html The Nutrition Information Centre of the University of Stellenbosch (NICUS). Food and guidelines for healthy eating. Accessed January 2015. http://www.nutritionweek.co.za University of Maryland Medical Centre. Medical Reference Guide. Patient Education: Vitamins. Accessec January 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/vitamins University of Maryland Medical Centre. Medical reference Guide. Patient Education: Weight control and diet. Accessed January 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/weight-control-and-diet University of Maryland Medical Centre. Medical reference Guide. Patient Education: Stress management. Accessed January 2015. Ward, E. 2014 Addressing nutritional gaps with multivitamin and mineral supplements. Nutrition Journal. 13:72 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4109789/