You might know friends and family who take multivitamins and wonder if you should be, too. Are they always necessary? Can too much of a good thing actually be bad?
We asked the author of Mind Over Weight, Dr. Ian Smith.
"Most people actually don't need vitamin supplementation," Dr. Ian says. "You get most of what you need from the foods that you eat, even if you eat just a reasonable diet. People don't realize that."
BUT, there's an exception, of course.
"If you do have an underlying condition," he continues, "like a vitamin D deficiency, you obviously need supplementation. You can take too much of a substance, [so] you really need to pay attention to what the recommended range is."
And of course, that's what your doctor is for. Always talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements before taking them and before altering your diet.
WHAT FOODS HAVE VITAMIN D IN THEM?
Dr. Ian says salmon, cheese and fortified foods contain vitamin D.
As for foods you can look to for other nutrients and vitamins, the doc breaks it down.
For flavonoids: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries + blackberries
For carotenoids: Orange veggies, like carrots and sweet potatoes (where you can also get vitamin A)
For lycopene: Tomatoes
For vitamin B12 + iron: Meat, poultry and fish
For vitamin E: Nuts and seeds
Plus, be wary of diets that don't include plant sources, the doc says. You want to get plenty of phytochemicals — chemicals made by plants — as diets rich in these have been associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.