"Supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet," says Stephanie Langdon, a registered dietitian and the owner of Something Nutrishus Counselling and Coaching in Saskatoon. "And taking large amounts of certain vitamins and minerals can be dangerous."
Some people need to take supplements at certain points in their lives. This includes people over the age of 50, women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or thinking of trying to get pregnant, and those who have certain allergies, medical conditions or food restrictions, including vegetarians and vegans. For everyone else, however, food is the key to good health.
"The energy your body needs every day for work and play comes from calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat," explains Langdon. "Food also contains fibre, phytochemicals and antioxidants, and has all the nutrients working together."
All you have to do to get the proper vitamins and nutrients is to eat a varied and balanced diet, with special consideration for the following superfoods.
10 amazing foods to add to your diet
Sweet red peppers and kiwis
Oranges may get all the vitamin C glory, but plenty of other fruits and vegetables are even more power-packed with calcium: 1/2 cup (125 mL) of raw sweet red pepper contains 144 milligrams (mg) and one large kiwi contains 84 mg, while a medium orange provides 59 to 83 mg of calcium.
Vitamin C is needed to help grow and repair bones, teeth, skin and other tissues, to protect cells from damage and to maintain a strong immune system, explains Langdon. Aim for 75 mg of vitamin C per day or 85 mg if you’re pregnant and 120 mg if you’re breast-feeding.
Fish and seafood are great sources of protein and also of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, two essential fatty acids that are not found in many foods. It only takes two 75-gram (2.5 ounce) servings of these heart-healthy omega-3s per week to meet your requirement.
Fish and seafood are also high in selenium, an antioxidant that prevents cell damage and keeps your thyroid and immune system in top shape. Aim for 55 mg of selenium per day or 60 mg if you’re pregnant and 70 mg if you’re breast-feeding. A 75 gram (2.5 ounce) serving of canned tuna delivers 45 to 60 mg of selenium.