The Facts About Nutrition
Here's how to get the vitamins and minerals you need.
The Calcium Connection
Calcium is the sweetheart of minerals these days because of its weight-loss
power. Research has shown that foods rich in calcium and protein can enhance
weight loss by revving up your metabolism.
Calcium is also the super-nutrient for keeping bones and teeth strong and
preventing osteoporosis. The best sources of calcium are dairy foods, though
it's also found in:
- Dark leafy greens
- Fortified products like cereal and orange juice
Food or Pills?
Supplements are not the secret weapon to better health, nor can they make up
for a poor diet. While vitamin and mineral pills can help round out a healthy
diet, they cannot take the place of the many nutrients and fiber found in whole
At the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic, we recommend taking a daily multivitamin
and mineral supplement for nutritional "insurance." Depending on your
food choices, even the best eating plans can fall short of meeting all your
nutritional needs. Taking a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement is safe, and
may offer additional health benefits. According to a study published in the
August 2003 Journal of Nutrition, a daily multivitamin can reduce your
risk of having a first heart attack. Other studies have suggested that daily
supplements can help maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic
But remember that more is not always better: When you are choosing your
daily multivitamin/mineral, make sure it contains no more than 100% of the
Recommended Dietary Allowance for any nutrient.
It's a much better idea to get your nutrients from food and take a simple
vitamin/mineral supplement once per day -- unless your physician recommends
otherwise. (Keep in mind that that certain health conditions, such as
pregnancy, call for specific supplements, so check with your doctor if you have
Every day, scientists are discovering substances in food that promote health
and protect against diseases. As time goes on, they will likely uncover even
more exciting links between nutrients and health.
In the meantime, here are some basic things we know for sure about vitamins
- Vitamins and minerals have no calories.
- All vitamins and minerals can be found in foods.
- If your diet has too little of a vitamin or mineral over a long period of
time, you will develop a deficiency.
- The best form of most vitamins and minerals is the kind you get from
So go ahead: Add any or all of the foods mentioned in this article to your
grocery list. Choosing foods and beverages that are loaded with vitamins,
minerals, and other healthful substances will help satisfy hunger, ward off
chronic diseases, and keep a zip in your step.