Maximizing Your Vitamin & Mineral Intake
by Karen Raterman

Nutritional needs are unique to every individual. The following guide to vitamins and minerals will help you make the most of your supplement regimen.

Woman taking vitaminsBy now, most people have heard the word: No matter how good your diet is, it's unlikely you're getting all the nutrients you need from food alone. Hence, the currently expanding American interest in vitamin and mineral supplementation. Although there is still some conflicting opinion among physicians, more and more health practitioners endorse supplementation.

Still, determining your vitamin and mineral requirements is a very individual thing. Experts recommend that consumers who want to maximize the efficacy of their vitamin/mineral intake should become educated about how vitamins and minerals work, and then learn to identify signs in their own health and diet that may signal a nutrient deficiency. For example, you may need to supplement if you suffer from chronic colds and flu; eat a diet that is low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains; are frequently tired or stressed; are pregnant; or if you use medication. Beyond that, consumers should also be aware of their family disease histories and research those nutrients that may help protect them from genetic predisposition to disease.

Karen Raterman is editorial director for Delicious! magazine.

Photography by: Joe Hancock