I have never want to consume multi vitamins supplement because I believe as long as I have a balanced diet, I don’t need supplements. My thinking has changed when I started to study the Chinese Dietitian course since a year ago.
In my course, my teacher Chinese College of Traditional Chinese Medicine shared with us the daily intake of fruits and vegetables in order to get enough vitamins and minerals. My teacher also make reference to WHO (World Health Organisation), an adult daily intake of fruits and vegetables should be 400g. Unless you are preparing your own meals, if not, it is very difficult to consume this amount daily. Even if you order mixed rice (1 meat and 2 vegetables) in Singapore coffeeshop or foodcourt, chances are it is way less than 200g, or even 100g. To give you some perspective, a packet of vegetable that you purchase from NTUC Fairprice typically weighs about 200g.
Special note from WHO – Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots are not classified as fruits or vegetables.
In addition, I didn’t expect that my teacher to focus so much in vitamins and minerals in our 中医营养学 (TCM food nutritional module). We discussed about Vitamin A, C, D, E, K and other minerals like Potassium, Selenium and Manganese. Missing these vitamins and minerals can also lead to diseases (I may blog about these topics in future) so this makes me realise the importance of vitamins and minerals. That was when I decided to take multi-vitamins because I don’t think I consume enough fruits and vegetables each day especially during the days when I’m outside.
If you are eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, then that’s very good! Please keep it up. If you think you are not consuming this amount each day, the next best alternative is to take multi-vitamins supplements.
So How To Choose A Multi-Vitamin Supplement
There are countless of multi-vitamin supplements to choose from in the market so how to choose one that is suitable for you? The one I am taking is MegaFood’s supplement and I have listed three criteria below for you to consider when choosing one for yourself.
1.Derived from Whole-Food!
The first criteria I will look at is to find out if the supplement is derived from whole-food source instead of synthetic. I chose megafood multi-vitamins because they use the Slo-Food Process to make vitamins from fresh fruits and vegetables.
One easy way to find out if the multi vitamins you are taking is synthetic or not is to take a look at the ingredients label on the bottle. If it is synthetic, you can see most of the vitamins are higher than 100% of the daily recommendations! Take a look at the following label for a popular multi-vitamins brand that you can find in Singapore. One of the reasons why I think this is so is because our bodies have difficult time absorbing non-food source vitamins, hence, the dosage (%DV) needs to be huge in order for it to be effective.
On the other hand, the multi-vitamins I take from MegaFood brand are derived from whole-food, as listed below. You will notice that the vitamin A is from carrots, vitamin c is from organic orange, Folate is from broccoli etc. In addition, the dosage is not extremely high as compared to the common brands.
2.Easy On Stomach!
This is the second criteria because I want to choose something that is gentle to our digestive system. Hence, only whole-food derived vitamins falls in this criteria. If you are taking a whole-food multi-vitamin, you will notice that you can take it even on a empty stomach. But if you are taking synthetic multi-vitamins, you should take it with a meal.
On top of this, it is also more convenient if you just required to take one tablet every day. Instead of multiple tablets throughout the day. Hence, do take note how many tablets you need to eat a day when considering to buy multi-vitamins.
3.Be Aware of the Effects On Your Body!
One very useful advice that I learnt from my school teachers is that we must always be aware of what we eat and the effects they had on our bodies. So one very important thing is to be more aware of your body (how you feel, your alertness etc ) after you take the multi-vitamins. Is your body feeling better or the same? Or even worse off? Our body always tell us how it feels, we just have to listen and be more aware of it.
There you have it! Besides MegaFood, there are also other brands that sells whole-food vitamins, you can do a search on Amazon. It is just that I would recommend MegaFood since it is not overly expensive and I find it effective for me!