To Supplement or Not to Supplement?

picture of kale and spinach at the grocery store

To supplement, or not to supplement? —That is the question. This is the topic of interest that I occasionally get asked from some of my clients as well as others whom I encounter. They hear about all the great things that a specific vitamin or mineral can do, and immediately go purchase the supplement form of said vitamin or mineral, to reap the benefits.

In fact, just two weeks ago, a family member had seen a video on social media that talked about how a young woman used a specific mineral to grow her hair to the length, thickness, and volume that it was. That same family member then asked about my thoughts on that specific mineral, but in supplement form. Granted— the young woman’s hair from the video looked healthy and amazing. However, in many instances, there is usually more to hair growth and overall body health improvements, for that matter, than with the sole use of supplements. Besides, if you’ve read my Vitamin D blog, you’d recall me saying that dietary supplements can be very helpful. However, not as a replacement for a good diet, but as insurance. Therefore, a good balanced and colorful diet should be your first choice of offense, rather than any given supplement.

So, let’s get right into it and list a few vitamins and minerals that are commonly taken in supplement form, along with their natural food sources and/or herbs where they are found.

quick smoothie ingredients
Vitamin ACarrot, mango, sweet potato, tomato, leafy greens (broccoli, kale, spinach). Herbal Sources: Violet leaf, calendula, lycii/goji berry.
Vitamin CBell pepper, broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, orange, strawberries. Herbal Sources: Rose hip, raspberry leaf, hibiscus flower.
Vitamin EAlmonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy greens (beet greens, collard greens, spinach), wheat germ oil.
CalciumEdamame, most leafy greens (arugula, broccoli, collards) and beans (adzuki, garbanzo, white). Herbal Sources: Dandelion leaf, horsetail, kelp, nettle leaf (great source!), oat straw (also rich in potassium!).
IronMost leafy greens (arugula, kale, spinach), legumes (adzuki, garbanzo, white), and whole grains. Herbal Sources: Burdock root, chickweed, dandelion root, marshmallow root.
MagnesiumCooked beans (black, chickpeas, pinto), pumpkin seeds, spinach. Herbal Sources: Alfalfa, kelp, nettle leaf, oat straw.
ZincBroccoli, kale, beans, legumes, dried mushrooms, pumpkin and sesame seeds), spinach and whole grains (whole wheat).
Vitamins/Minerals listed with their Natural Food and Herbal Sources

Therefore, I recommend a good balanced and colorful diet to be your first choice to promote your targeted or overall health concern, before you jump straight into taking supplements. Supplements are great, but are there to add value to what your already colorful and nutrient dense diet is missing; not to replace it. So to answer the question, to supplement or not to supplement— try asking yourself that question after being consistent with your nutrient rich and colorful diet. Your answer just might change from what it is today 😉

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