Can multivitamins replace fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber – all available in their natural form that is easily digestible and bioavailable (easily absorbable and usable by the body). When eaten in their whole form, fruits and vegetables along with other components of a healthy diet which includes whole grains and nuts and seeds together with some omega-3 fatty acids nourish an individual and help to fight disease and inflammation.

A multivitamin tablet or capsule is called a “supplement”, which means they are meant as an ADDITION to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Multivitamin and mineral supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet.

As I’ve mentioned, whole fruits and vegetables contain fiber and many potent antioxidants in addition to vitamins and minerals. The nutrients in these whole foods are completely natural, making them more bioavailable – which means they are absorbed by the body quite easily instead of being eliminated via the urine, which is what happens with many brands of commercial multivitamin-mineral tablets.

We can survive without taking any multivitamin or mineral supplements if we follow a normally healthy diet and lifestyle, but no amount of multivitamins will make us healthy unless we also include lots of whole fruits and vegetables in our diet.

There are no “Magic pills” to being healthy, contrary to what many people (and companies) will have us believe. Yes, there are certain vitamins and minerals we can be deficient in, and a multivitamin/ mineral can help us correct the deficiency, but not without also including whole food sources of those vitamins and minerals.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

If you take a high-quality multivitamin/ mineral supplement in addition to maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, you may continue to do so. However, simply depending on a supplement to take care of your health without a conscious change in your diet and lifestyle is unlikely to be of much help and may even be disadvantageous if it keeps you in a false sense of security that you’re healthy because you take a multivitamin.

Several studies have shown that people who eat several servings of fruits and vegetables are healthier, and have a lower chance of dying from diseases such as heart disease and cancer, which are two major killers in modern society. In order to be healthy, it is imperative to include copious servings of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Here are some other health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables:

  1. Fruits and vegetable consumption helps support the immune system by supplying essential nutrients for its functioning.
  2. Fruits and vegetable consumption helps provide fiber which acts as prebiotic (food for good bacteria) and this supports a healthy gut flora.
  3. The consumption of fruits and vegetables in their whole form provides lots of fiber which also helps promote healthy bowel movements by providing bulk and helping to prevent constipation.
  4. Fruits and vegetables provide many nutrients and antioxidants to help protect against free radical damage and inflammation, which can cause diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  5. The consumption of several servings of fruits and vegetables helps prevent weight gain and obesity and related problems such as metabolic syndrome and high blood sugar. This is because people who consume several servings of fruits and vegetables are less inclined to snack on or eat unhealthy junk foods.
  6. Ever heard of beauty inside and out? That’s what fruits and vegetables can do for you. The antioxidants and nutrients in fruits and vegetables help promote healthy skin and can prevent premature aging. Now, who doesn’t want wrinkle-free, healthy skin? (That too without needing to use expensive anti-aging creams and lotions which are a bunch of lab-made chemicals)

Can isolated vitamins, minerals and antioxidants boast of so many benefits? Perhaps. But in the absence of synergistic nutrients, synthetic vitamins and minerals are unlikely to be of much help. Honestly, just eat lots of fruits and vegetables. You won’t need much else to be healthy.

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