Should I supplement my diet?

A multivitamin-and-mineral supplement, providing 50%-150% of the daily recommended intake (DRI) per tablet, is recommended for vegetarians.

Note, however, that this cannot replace a healthy diet rich in phytochemicals (health-preserving plant chemicals that naturally occur in food).

Supplements should be used along with a healthy diet, which is high in fruit and vegetables, and should contain at least 400ug folic acid. Supradyn Complete or Centrum A-Z are good, cost-effective options.

Just make sure you don't overdo things. Recent research shows that beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E supplements can be dangerous when taken in excess.

Remember that South African maize meal, unsifted mielie meal, wheat flour and bread are fortified with vitamin A, thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), folic acid, iron and zinc. Take this into account when you choose a multi-vitamin to supplement your diet.

- (Health24, October 2007)

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