By: Larry Studt, M.D., Occupational Health & Medicine Program, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Hospitals
I often hear people lament, "I don't have time to eat healthy." Then they usually follow that up by asking, "Should I take a multi-vitamin?"
A balanced diet is necessary for our bodies to receive essential daily nutrients. The problem is most people don't eat as healthy as they think they do. In fact, a recent USDA report indicates most Americans are consuming too few fruits and vegetables, high-fiber whole grains, seafood, and low-fat milk and dairy products. A multi-vitamin supplement can provide a good base in case you don't get all the nutrients you need throughout the day.
In addition to a multi-vitamin, many healthcare providers recommend taking a few other supplements. Omega3 can boost your heart health and help lower triglycerides; calcium keeps your bones strong; and Vitamin D may help stave off a multitude of health problems such as cancer, depression and heart disease. Of course, always check with your doctor first to see what's right for you.
Finally, eating healthier can seem overwhelming, so take it slow at the outset. Include a vegetable with your lunch and dinner. Choose whole wheat bread over white bread. Add a banana to your breakfast cereal. Try fresh berries or yogurt for a healthy mid-afternoon snack. Your taste buds will soon become accustomed to healthier food. Before you know it, you'll be reaching for carrot sticks instead of potato chips!
I'm not eating healthy enough. Should I take a multi-vitamin? What else can I do?
To learn more, watch the "Ask the Doc" video!