Food With Multivitamin

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Do you want a simple and delicious way to incorporate more vitamin-rich fruits and veggies into your diet? Try this Food With Multivitamin blog.

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Food With Multivitamin

Vitamins and minerals are as essential for living as air and water. Not only do they keep your body healthy and functional, they protect you from a variety of diseases.

Vitamins and minerals get thrown together, but they are quite different. Vitamins are organic substances produced by plants or animals. They often are called “essential” because they are not synthesized in the body (except for vitamin D) and therefore must come from food.

Minerals are inorganic elements that originate from rocks, soil, or water. However, you can absorb them indirectly from the environment or an animal that has eaten a particular plant.

Two types of each

Vitamins are divided into two categories: water soluble—which means the body expels what it does not absorb—and fat soluble where leftover amounts are stored in the liver and fat tissues as reserves. The water-soluble vitamins are the eight B vitamins (B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, B-7, B-9, and B-12) and vitamin C. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K.

There are many minerals, but certain ones are necessary for optimal health. Minerals are split into two groups: major and trace. Major ones are not necessarily more important than trace, but it means there are greater amounts in your body.

The top food sources

Federal guidelines suggest minimum daily amounts for vitamins and key minerals. However, unless you need to increase your intake for specific ones because of a deficiency or other medical reason, following so many numbers can be confusing.

The best approach to ensure you get a variety of vitamins and minerals, and in the proper amounts, is to adopt a broad healthy diet. This involves an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, low-fat protein, and dairy products. The good news is that many common foods contain multiple mineral and vitamin sources, so it is easy to meet your daily needs from everyday meals.

Here are some of the best foods for vitamins and minerals from the Harvard Medical School Special Heath Report, Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy:

Vitamin Sources

Water soluble:

B-1: ham, soymilk, watermelon, acorn squash

B-2: milk, yogurt, cheese, whole and enriched grains and cereals.

B-3: meat, poultry, fish, fortified and whole grains, mushrooms, potatoes

B-5: chicken, whole grains, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms

B-6: meat, fish, poultry, legumes, tofu and other soy products, bananas

B-7: Whole grains, eggs, soybeans, fish

B-9: Fortified grains and cereals, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, legumes (black-eyed peas and chickpeas), orange juice

B-12: Meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, fortified soymilk and cereals

Vitamin C: Citrus fruit, potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts

Fat soluble:

Vitamin A: beef, liver, eggs, shrimp, fish, fortified milk, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach, mangoes

Vitamin D: Fortified milk and cereals, fatty fish

Vitamin E: vegetables oils, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts

Vitamin K: Cabbage, eggs, milk, spinach, broccoli, kale

Minerals

Major:

Calcium: yogurt, cheese, milk, salmon, leafy green vegetables

Chloride: salt

Magnesium: Spinach, broccoli, legumes, seeds, whole-wheat bread

Potassium: meat, milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes

Sodium: salt, soy sauce, vegetables

Trace:

Chromium: meat, poultry, fish, nuts, cheese

Copper: shellfish, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, beans, prunes

Fluoride:  fish, teas

Iodine: Iodized salt, seafood

Iron: red meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, green vegetables, fortified bread

Manganese: nuts, legumes, whole grains, tea

Selenium: Organ meat, seafood, walnuts

Zinc: meat, shellfish, legumes, whole grains

Foods Highest in Vitamins

1Fish

Salmon Fillets

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Fish is a good source for 9 of 14 essential vitamins.
These include Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, D, and E. Among all fish Tuna and Trout provide the most vitamins but be sure to eat a wide variety of fish for a healthy diet.

2Dark Leafy Greens

Leaves of Kale

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Dark Leafy Greens are a good source for 8 of 14 essential vitamins.
These include Vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, E, K, and Beta-Carotene. While all dark leafy greens are great, extra nutrient-dense sources include spinach and kale.

3Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

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Seeds are a good source for 6 of 14 essential vitamins.
These include Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B5, B6, and E. Vitamin rich choices for seeds include sunflower and flax seeds.

4Broccoli

Broccoli

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Broccoli is a good source for 6 of 14 essential vitamins.
These include Vitamins A, B9, C, E, K, and Beta Carotene. Other nutritious cruciferous vegetables include brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.

5Pork

A pork chop

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Pork is a good source for 6 of 14 essential vitamins.
These include Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and D. Good cuts of pork include pork chops (loin) and shoulder.

6Beef and Lamb

A beef roast

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Beef and lamb is a good source for 5 of 14 essential vitamins.These include Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, and B9. To reduce calories, leaner cuts of beef and lamb are recommended.

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5 signs you’ve chosen the right multivitamin

Navigating the maze of multivitamins at the grocery store can be overwhelming. You can zero in on a multivitamin that’s right for you with a bit of research.
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As kids, many of us took daily chewable multivitamins, and for a lot of us, that habit has continued into adulthood – about one-third of American adults take multivitamins.

Some people take multivitamins for the comfort of knowing they’re filling potential nutrient gaps. Others take them with the belief that they’re boosting their immune system, improving their brain function or skin tone, or enhancing hair health or health in general.

People who benefit from taking an appropriate multivitamin include:

  • Those who are eating or absorbing fewer calories (dieters, for example)
  • Some older individuals
  • People who have undergone bariatric surgery

Some multivitamins claim to support heart health, but results from the Physicians’ Health Study II and Women’s Health Study suggest that long-term use of multivitamins does not reduce risk of stroke, heart attack, or cardiovascular mortality. Additionally, a recent meta-analysis that included 18 studies, 2,099,262 participants, and 18,363,326 person years, reported that multivitamins did not lower the incidence of stroke or mortality from stroke, cardiovascular or coronary heart disease.

Choosing a multivitamin

It’s ultimately up to you to determine whether taking a multivitamin is right for you. There are many options out there – a trip down the vitamin aisle at your local store might conjure up images of standing before some kind of elaborate 3D periodic table – so I offer the following guidelines to help navigate the multivitamin maze. Look for:

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1. USP verification

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention – an independent, nonprofit organization – determines whether dietary supplements are pure and contain the ingredients they list on their labels. The organization uses a particular seal, which is pictured at the top of this page. Don’t be fooled by labels that simply use the letters “USP.” Check your multivitamin online to ensure it is USP verified. Additional resources for checking your supplement include, Consumerlab, which evaluates dietary supplements for purity and contamination, and NSF International, which certifies supplement content.

2. Appropriate daily values of ingredients

Choose a multivitamin with 100%of the daily value of most of its ingredients. Some nutrients, such as calcium, can’t be included in a multivitamin at 100% – if it was, the multivitamin would be too large to swallow. Magnesium and potassium levels are kept low to avoid drug-nutrient interactions, so we need to get these nutrients primarily through our diet (see food sources below.). Keep in mind, too, that exceeding 100% of the daily value of certain nutrients is not helpful. Some nutrients – like vitamins A, D, E, and K – can build up in the body and become toxic.

3. The right balance for your age and sex

Nutrient needs vary depending on gender and age. For example, premenopausal women need more iron, while older adults need more calcium, vitamin D, and B6. A dietitian or your family doctor can help you determine how much of specific nutrients you need for your age and gender.

4. Essential micronutrients

Your body needs micronutrients to keep your systems humming. Besides well-known nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, a good multivitamin will include:

  • Thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin
  • B6, B12, and folate
  • Calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc
  • Vitamins A (including beta carotene), E, and K
  • Vitamin D2 or D3

You can skip multivitamins that are made with additional micronutrients for which there are no recommended daily values (examples: boron, nickel and tin).

Shopping for and eating healthy foods on a regular basis is the key to getting the nutrients you need.
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5. The nutrients you need

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, American diets often lack calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and fiber. Most multivitamins contain 100% of the daily value for vitamin D, but have limited amounts of calcium and potassium and no fiber. Therefore, even if you take a multivitamin, it’s important to consume foods rich in these nutrients:

  • Calcium: Low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt; calcium-fortified, plant-based milks; orange juice; cereals; tofu (prepared with calcium citrate); and almonds
  • Vitamin D: salmon, enriched milk (cow or plant based), fortified orange juice, or cereals and yogurt
  • Potassium: Beans and legumes; potatoes; low-fat milk and yogurt; lower-sodium canned tomato products; fruits; and lamb, pork, and fish
  • Fiber: Beans and legumes; nuts and seeds; oats and whole grains; and fruits and vegetables
  • Magnesium: Nuts and seeds, avocado, spinach, dry beans, whole grains and oats.

What about gummy vitamins?

Preliminary research suggests the median doses of vitamins are often higher than the recommended amounts in gummy versions. Manufacturers are aware that degradation is more likely in the gummy form, so a higher concentration of vitamins may be added to account for this anticipated loss. In addition, iron is omitted due to its metallic taste.

Gummy vitamins may be helpful for those who have difficulty swallowing supplements, but keep in mind that quality may be less consistent due to manufacturing challenges, and that they typically contain sugar or sugar alcohols, so calories will be present.

When to take your multivitamin

Generally, the time of day you take your multivitamin is not important. However, taking it with food may minimize stomach discomfort and aid in absorption. In addition, supplemental calcium and iron bind together in the gastrointestinal track. For optimal absorption of a calcium supplement, avoid taking it with your multivitamin, and if you take Synthroid, take it four hours before or after your multivitamin or calcium supplement for optimal effectiveness.

Replace Your Multivitamin With These 5 Foods

Replace Your Multivitamin With These Foods
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A multivitamin may feel like a smart move: You get a load of micronutrients in a daily pill. But recent research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that multivitamins did nothing to stave off heart disease, cancer, or age-related cognitive decline. Even worse: Some findings suggest that high doses of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E may harm your health. Any way you look at it, the case against multivitamins is pretty strong. 

So, how do you get all the vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients you need? “Your body knows how to break down food and use it efficiently,” says Nikki Ostrower, a nutritionist at NAO Nutrition in New York City. “We can’t say the same for a synthetic pill. Really, we should all eat nutrient-rich foods while keeping supplements to a minimum.” Here are 5 nutrient-dense foods that will provide all you need from A to zinc. 

 
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1. Almonds
This tasty nut is a great place to start when replacing your multivitamin. A new study found that adding 1.5 ounces of almonds to adults’ and children’s daily diets raised levels of essential fatty acids, vitamin E, and magnesium to the daily recommended levels. Plus, eating the nut daily tended to crowd out empty calories from unhealthy snacks like chips.

2. Shellfish
LARA HATA/GETTY IMAGES

Oysters, mussels, clams, and scallops offer the strongest concentrations of vitamins and minerals of any animal. They pack a wallop of nutrients while being low calorie, low fat, and high in protein. Unlike your multivitamin pill, they’re also delicious. A handful of raw oysters offer 10 times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12, 15 times the recommended zinc intake, 5 times the daily copper requirement, and 3 times our daily selenium needs. Iron? It’s got a full day’s requirement. A serving of mussels offers 3 days’ worth of manganese. Shellfish are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in omega-6s—an outstanding ratio for heart health and brain function. (Here’s how to get omega-3s if you’re a vegetarian.) They’re filled with the minerals copper, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also make an excellent source of vitamin D. Find a way to squeeze shellfish into your diet at least once a week and you’ll cover a good chunk of your nutrient needs.

3. Quinoa
This shelf-stable, inexpensive food is completely capable of replacing your multivitamin on its own. “It’s got a ton of fiber, and it’s a complete protein with a healthy amount of all the essential amino acids,” says Ostrower. “No wonder the Incas called it the grain of the gods.” Technically, quinoa isn’t a grain, but a seed from a plant in the same family as beets, spinach, and chard. The tiny seed provides heart-healthy fats and nutrients like folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, and zinc. It actually has a stronger concentration of antioxidant phytonutrients than cranberries—publicized as a superfood—and it offers a wide array of anti-inflammatory nutrients. “Some people do really well having it just once a day as a side, or as a porridge,” says Ostrower. “If you want to enhance its value and its flavor, cook it in mineral-rich bone broth instead of water. Your body will thank you for it.”

4. Lacto-Fermented Veggies
That weird-sounding label just refers to sauerkraut, kimchi, or some types of pickles that have been fermented with bacteria known as lactobacillus. The vegetables are kept in clean water and salt, an environment in which only lactobacillus can survive. The process increases the levels of vitamins and enzymes: A serving of these foods provides a full dose of vitamin C, all of the B vitamins, and essential amino acids, especially lysine and methionine. Lacto-fermentation also provides a ton of beneficial bacteria to the gut. “Look at all the vitamins and amino acids you get and then add in a ton of probiotics. That’s gorgeous,” says Ostrower. “Have these foods as an appetizer, on your salads, or use them as a condiment. Fermented food is a great accompaniment to any meal. Just get it in you.”

5. Seaweed
NU1983/GETTY IMAGES

Turns out that the slimy underwater plant that wraps around your ankle at the beach is a nutrient powerhouse. Seaweed absorbs the ocean’s minerals, which means it’s chock full of iron, calcium, potassium, niacin, phosphorus, and magnesium; the aquatic green contains 56 minerals the human body requires.

But wait, there’s more! (Seaweed is so good for you that it should have its own infomercial.) It also delivers several B vitamins (it’s the only known nonmeat source of B12), along with vitamins A, K, C, and E. The fibers in seaweed carry anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiviral properties that flush heavy metals from the digestive tract and support cardiovascular health. “If you really want the king of greens, go for sea vegetables,” says Ostrower. “A multi-seaweed salad or miso soup will pack the nutritional profile of different seaweeds into one punch.” The varieties include wakame, arame, nori, dulse, and kombu: The combination will more than make up for a multivitamin, says Ostrower. 

Is There Really Any Benefit to Multivitamins?

Half of all American adults—including 70 percent of those age 65 and older—take a multivitamin or another vitamin or mineral supplement regularly. The total price tag exceeds $12 billion per year—money that Johns Hopkins nutrition experts say might be better spent on nutrient-packed foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

Senior male peruses the vitamin aisle
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In an editorial in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine titled “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed evidence about supplements, including three very recent studies:

  • An analysis of research involving 450,000 people, which found that multivitamins did not reduce risk for heart disease or cancer.
  • A study that tracked the mental functioning and multivitamin use of 5,947 men for 12 years found that multivitamins did not reduce risk for mental declines such as memory loss or slowed-down thinking.
  • A study of 1,708 heart attack survivors who took a high-dose multivitamin or placebo for up to 55 months. Rates of later heart attacks, heart surgeries and deaths were similar in the two groups.

The Vitamin Verdict

The researchers concluded that multivitamins don’t reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline (such as memory loss and slowed-down thinking) or an early death. They also noted that in prior studies, vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements appear to be harmful, especially at high doses.

“Pills are not a shortcut to better health and the prevention of chronic diseases,” says Larry Appel, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research. “Other nutrition recommendations have much stronger evidence of benefits—eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and sugar you eat.”

The exception is supplemental folic acid for women of child-bearing potential, Appel says. “Folic acid prevents neural tube defects in babies when women take it before and during early pregnancy. That’s why multivitamins are recommended for young women.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all women of reproductive age get 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. The amount of iron in a multivitamin may also be beneficial for women of child-bearing potential, Appel adds.

“I don’t recommend other supplements,” Appel says. “If you follow a healthy diet, you can get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from food.”

WHAT THE EXPERTS DOHealthy Food Instead of Supplements

“I don’t take any supplements routinely,” says Larry Appel, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research. “I try to eat three healthy meals a day to get the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients I need.” How he does it:

  • Plenty of produce. “I aim for two or more servings of fruits or vegetables at every meal,” he says. “I enjoy salads and have one for lunch or dinner several times a week.”
  • Low-fat dairy and whole grains. “Low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt provide calcium, magnesium, potassium and other nutrients,” he says. “I have cereal with milk for breakfast a few times a week. And I have yogurt sometimes too.”
  • Protein. “At home we usually have fish or chicken for dinner. I am not a vegetarian; rather, I eat minimal meat,” Appel says. Some fish, such as salmon, are a good source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids.

Definitions

Whole grains: Grains such as whole wheat, brown rice and barley still have their fiber-rich outer shell, called the bran, and inner germ. It provides vitamins, minerals and good fats. Choosing whole grain side dishes, cereals, breads and more may lower the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer and improve digestion, too.

Saturated fat: A type of fat found in abundance in butter, whole milk, ice cream, full-fat cheese, fatty meats, poultry skin, and palm and coconut oils. Saturated fat raises levels of heart-threatening LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. It can also interfere with your body’s ability to absorb blood sugar easily. Limiting saturated fat can help control your risk for heart disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids (oh-may-ga three fah-tee a-sids): Healthy polyunsaturated fats that the body uses to build brain-cell membranes. They’re considered essential fats because our body needs them but can’t make them on its own; we must take them in through food or supplements. A diet rich in omega-3s—found in fatty fish, like salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as in walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil—and low in saturated fats may help protect against heart disease, stroke, cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.

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