- Taking a multivitamin for as little as one penny a day can meet most of your nutrient needs.
- But experts say it’s always best to eat a balanced diet if possible rather than relying on vitamins.
- Nutritious and budget-friendly foods include potatoes, eggs, chickpeas, oats, and mushrooms.
Multivitamins can provide you with most of the vitamins and minerals, aka micronutrients, you need each day at a fairly low cost. .
However, you may not want to rush and stock up on cheap vitamins just yet. generally does not recommend relying on vitamins alone.
“Multivitamins are meant to supplement your diet, not replace it,” says Mackenzie Burgess, R.D.N. and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices.
Multivitamins can be a useful tool for certain medical conditions or when access to nutritious foods is difficult, but even with vitamins, eating a balanced diet is associated with health risks. The benefits of are not always replicated.
Read on to learn when you might want to consider taking a multivitamin, along with some tips on the best foods to meet your vitamin and mineral needs on a budget.
Why You Shouldn’t Get Most Nutrients From Supplements
Multivitamins play an important role. If you don’t get enough vitamins and minerals from your diet alone, it helps make up for the deficiencies.
That’s right, multivitamins can technically provide nearly all of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) of micronutrients needed for optimal health. We recommend that you focus on eating a well-balanced diet.
For one thing, eating a variety of colorful, nutritious foods is usually a much more enjoyable experience than taking a pill.
Burgess also says that if you rely solely on a multivitamin, you’ll be missing out on other beneficial compounds such as:
Additionally, taking too many daily supplements to meet the RDA puts you at risk of serious side effects from taking too much vitamin A and vitamin D.
Consuming more than the RDA for water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin B offers no health benefits.
And finally, there isn’t much evidence to support multivitamins as a way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death. However, eating a balanced diet lowers the risk.
So why take a multivitamin?
Multivitamins may not provide all the benefits of a balanced diet, but they can still have a positive effect on the body.
A multivitamin may help if:
Do cheap vitamins really work?
If you’re shopping on a budget, we have some good news for you. Inexpensive branded vitamins work just as well as more expensive options.
“There are great vitamin options for every budget,” says Jessica Huston, nutritional scientist and founder of Vitamins and Me.
Multivitamin prices are often more to do with marketing and branding than the actual quality of the ingredients, says Houston.
For example, store brands of multivitamins are great affordable options.
Houston recommends choosing the following vitamins:
best food to eat on a budget
As a general rule, experts recommend eating a variety of foods to get the nutrients you need, including:
When shopping, sticking to simple, minimally processed foods works best
You get bang for your buck when it comes to vitamins and minerals.
Also remember that some foods are more nutritious than others. For example, kale and other dark leafy greens provide more nutrients than iceberg lettuce.
Finding nutritious foods on a budget can seem difficult, but some cheap staples have more nutrients than you think.
Burgess says you may be surprised at the amount of nutrients found in everyday affordable foods. Take mushrooms, for example.
Other budget-friendly foods packed with vitamins and minerals:
Taking a multivitamin is an easy and inexpensive way to get more of the vitamins and minerals you need, especially during pregnancy, when you’re on a tight budget, or when you don’t have access to enough nutritious foods. maybe.
However, it cannot completely replace the role of nutritious foods. There’s a reason they’re called supplements. It is a supplement to a balanced diet, not a replacement.
If you’re on a tight budget, adding a multivitamin to your meal plan may help, but as a first step, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or nutritionist about how best to supplement your diet. Recommended.