South Africans spend a lot of money on supplements, vitamins and minerals. A 2016 report shows that the market is worth a whopping R3.8 billion, while a quarter of South Africans are getting way less than the RDA of fruit and veg.
Every cell in your body needs nutrients to function, and “Foods provide nutrients in the best quantities and combinations,” says dietitian Dr Trent Watson. But of course, we can’t all claim kale and quinoa every day. Greasy takeaway and wine weekends happen; as do nutrient gaps that can put your wellbeing at risk.
So, how about a supplement as a nutritional wingman? “Unless there is an identifiable deficiency, there’s no evidence to show supplementation provides benefit,” says Watson. Before you get busy in the supplements aisle, talk to your GP or an accredited practising dietitian about the vita-mix that’s best for you.
READ MORE: Natural supplements to boost your memory, concentration and mood
If you’re a fitness buff
Working out for more than 90 minutes at a time draws down your nutrient stash, particularly iron. Anaemia is a decrease in red blood cells caused by too little iron and low levels can sap your energy and lead to headaches and muscle fatigue. You need at least 18mg of iron per day of this micro-mineral that helps transport oxygen to cells.
Try: SOLAL Iron plus formula, R220, Faithful To Nature
If you’re a desk jockey
This means you, cube dwellers. But also pay heed if you’re fair skinned and avoid the sun. Vitamin D is hard to find in foods, it’s produced in the body when sunlight hits your skin (a high SPF could mean less D). Getting 600+ IU per day can help the body fight infections, build strong bones and prevent depression.
Try: Viridian Vitamin D3, R130, Faithful To Nature
If you’re vegetarian or vegan
Congrats – produce is loaded with a range of nutrients – except for vitamin B12. It keeps blood and nerve cells healthy and can help protect the brain and muscles. But is virtually nonexistent in plant foods. Get 2.4μg per day to prevent feeling weak and tired.
Try: Neogenesis B12 Transdermal Patches, R180, Faithful To Nature
If you’re gluten-free
If you’re off wheat, you could be missing some key minerals, like magnesium. Whole grains are packed with it and it’s key for bone and heart health. Get 320mg per day to help your body absorb calcium and potassium, regulate blood sugar and control blood pressure.
Try: Floradix Magnesium Liquid Formula, R240, Faithful To Nature
This article was originally published on Women's Health.