3 ways to be healthy without taking vitamins and supplements

Americans spend over $30 billion each year on vitamins and herbal supplements to help them avoid diseases and maintain good health. About 50 percent of people take a multivitamin daily, and many others also take individual vitamin supplements. However, researchers report that many of these pills provide minimal health benefits. Here are three ways to be healthy without taking vitamins and supplements.

  1. Eat healthy foods – Many people today have little time to prepare nutritious meals at home using foods that naturally provide important minerals and vitamins. Instead, they heat up a prepared frozen meal or stop by to get fast food. However, these quick-and-easy food choices contain limited vitamins and most likely are loaded with sodium, unhealthy fats and sugar. Nutritionists advise that fast foods are especially unhealthy choices for people with chronic medical conditions. Instead, they need healthy foods that contain real vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber for their bodies to function well throughout the day.
  2. Avoid extra supplements – Some people swear that extra vitamins and supplements improve their health. However:
    • Many people believe that taking extra amounts of the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E will lower their blood pressure, fight viruses, or decrease cholesterol levels. But research has not found evidence that they provide significant benefits. In fact, for some people, taking extra vitamins could be detrimental to their health.
    • Some studies suggest that taking specific supplements could help reduce risk factors for heart disease. However, the research is not conclusive. Often people at risk for heart disease adopt healthier dietary and exercise habits while also taking vitamin and mineral supplements. It’s believed that improvements in heart health are the result of changes in lifestyle rather than vitamin supplements.
  3. Follow doctor’s advice – Some people may not be able to get all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating healthy foods. They may have health complications that prevent them from eating certain nutritious foods, or their bodies are not absorbing enough nutrients. In these instances, doctors may recommend taking specific vitamins or mineral supplements. It’s important to follow doctor’s advice to gain the most benefit.

New York Times
American Heart Association