Today, it is overwhelmingly easy to just give in to the supplement fad. By definition of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, “a nutritional supplement contains one or more dietary ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.” In other words, why would someone make themselves eat a whole plate of x when they could just simply take a supplement pill that mimics the same effects and benefits? The truth is, many have lost sight of the fact that supplements are given their name because that was their primary intention:to be supplemental to one’s own dietary needs.
Of course, it is true that in certain cases the supplement one takes is worth it, for example those used for pregnancy benefits. However, eating a plate of vegetables like broccoli surpasses that of a pill, because many important chemicals that are linked to prevention of specific cancers cannot be condensed into a supplement. In other words, complete meals make for complete health benefits. Eating broccoli, which contains cancer fighting glucosinolates, is well worth the extra chewing.
However, often with a balanced diet, a person is already getting all the nutrients they need, so taking supplements as well could lead to some issues. It goes unsaid that supplements are very helpful to those whose health could be substantially improved with the benefits reaped. For instance, if one chooses the lifestyle choice to go vegan or become vegetarian, supplements can aid in replenishing some of the nutrients lost from lack of protein. Also pregnant women benefit from supplementary pills containing folic acid. So, if already keeping up a balanced diet, it would not be worth the cost to go out and seek supplement pills because they might not pack in too much added benefit for you.
So, in the battle of supplements versus complete foods, what is the go to? If you still are interested in taking at least some supplementary pill to pack in those nutrients no matter what, try a multivitamin. These contain vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Calcium, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and so on. Multivitamins can give you the essential boost you need to compliment your balanced diet, without hurting your wallet.