I know it is a question frequently asked. Multivitamins are one of the most commonly purchased over-the-counter supplements. It is true that a multivitamin will help in a case where there is a nutritional deficiency. However, although it will not cause harm, it may be a waste of money if you are consuming 100% of vitamins and minerals from food.
There are some cases where taking a multivitamin is recommended. Certainly in pregnancy a multivitamin may be recommended to be sure that enough folate is absorbed to prevent birth defects. People who follow a strict vegan diet may benefit from a multivitamin, as they might not ingest enough minerals or vitamin B12 by avoiding animal products. People following prolonged low-calorie weight loss programs, people recovering from surgery and people with a severe illness that restricts eating could benefit from a multivitamin. Lastly, older adults who have a decreased appetite, eat less, do not absorb nutrients as well or are on medications that block nutrients may also benefit from a multivitamin.
I think that it is easier and more delicious to ingest all the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals from food. Let’s take watercress as an example: one cup, a single serving, has many notable health benefits. Watercress is in the cruciferous vegetable family and therefore is a green leafy vegetable rich in minerals and vitamins. Watercress also contains many antioxidants. One serving provides you with a tremendous amount of vitamin C, iron, calcium and folate, as well as some amount of other B vitamins, magnesium and phosphorous.
Watercress’ antioxidant properties are known to produce innumerable benefits for cancer prevention. Watercress has been known to benefit a healthy thyroid and to promote cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol. It can help improve bone health because it is calcium-rich. It can act as an antidepressive agent, as the high amount of folate works with neurotransmitters in a very positive way. Lastly the high content of vitamin C produces all the benefits of improved immune function, better eyesight and reduced damage to red blood cells.
So you can see how just incorporating one food in the diet can help supply your body with high amounts of vitamin and minerals. In my opinion watercress would certainly count as a superfood for minerals and vitamins. If it is part of a variety of other fruits and vegetables, you can see why you may not need the multivitamin after all. Try this recipe at your Shavuot table; you will be surprised how good healthy foods can taste.
- 1 tbsp. honey or agave
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 thinly sliced red onion
- 1 can mandarin oranges, rinsed
- 1 cup snap peas
- 2 cups precooked beets (cubed or sprialized)
- 32 oz. watercress greens
- 1 log of goat cheese, crumbled
1. Mix the first six ingredients for the dressing, set aside
2. Mix all other ingredients except goat cheese into a serving bowl
3. Toss with 4 tablespoons of the dressing
4. Crumble goat cheese on top
5. Drizzle remaining dressing on top
By Jamie Feit