Vitamins vs. Vegetables

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Nichelle Truelove--Vitamins are good, but vegetables can be better health wise.

College students develop new eating habits and learn how to survive on their own. However, taking vitamins no longer seems as important as it did at home with mom constantly advocating Flintstone vitamins.

The phrase, “Eat your vegetables,” is no longer as authoritative as many meals now consist of donuts and coffee for breakfast, pizza for lunch and a cheeseburger with fries for dinner.

Things will change over the course of time but keep in mind that both vitamins and vegetables are necessary to keep the body functioning properly.

Some people consider vitamins to be sufficient when they lack their daily intake of vegetables but there are many disadvantages in taking only vitamins and forgetting to eat vegetables. However, this does not mean that vitamins are useless.

There is a difference between the two and the advantages and disadvantages include the following.

Vitamins

Vitamins are simply supplements and are not sufficient for the day. It is meant to be taken along with other sources of nutrients.

“Do not solely rely on your supplement,” Dean of the College of Allied Health Charles Sands said. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are what we need to push in our diet.”

Everyone needs vitamins but the nutrients and fiber that vegetables supply the body with are not replaceable. A vitamin is basically a pill that has the nutrients of both fruits and vegetables but is processed to make it easier for people to consume.

Since a vitamin does not have any calories, the mere inherence of a daily multivitamin is not enough. Vegetables on the other hand are not only fully equipped with nutrients but also contain fiber which helps the process of eliminating body waste.

Moreover, taking a daily vitamin with any caffeinated drink prevents the body from absorbing the nutrients it needs for various parts of the body.

“Take your vitamins with juice or water. Do not drink them with caffeinated drinks,” Sands said. “Caffeine blocks the absorption of the vitamin.”

Vitamins can be taken on a daily basis, however it will take a while to feel the effects because it does not work efficiently unless taken over a long period of time. Also, pay attention to the expiration date as this dictates whether or not the vitamin still contains the elements it was meant to have.

Vegetables

Vegetables are a natural source of vitamins and should be consumed on a daily basis. Plus they provides nutrients directly to the body. A balanced diet must consist of different fruits and vegetables.

“Count the colors on your plate. If you have the same colors, you need to balance out your diet,” Sands said.

If you eat the same vegetables all the time, you are not getting the balanced nutrients that your body needs but instead absorb an excess of only one set of nutrients.

Every vegetable is dense however there are only a few that are color dense and those are the ones that supply the body with the highest amount of nutrients. These vegetables include avocados, asparagus, bell peppers and eggplant.

“The difference in color means there is a difference in nutritional value,” Sands said.

Therefore, if you eat a variety of color dense vegetables you are receiving the vitamins your body needs.

“You can eat vegetables and not vitamins but our diet should consist of a variety of vegetables,” Sands said. “If you eat a well-rounded diet, you don’t need a vitamin supplement.”

Kill two birds with one stone by substituting junk food with vegetables and fruits so that you can have something delicious and nutritious. Get creative with your veggies so you will want to eat them and not dread them. Some fun vegetable snacks include carrots and ranch dip or celery with peanut butter.

While both vitamins and vegetables are necessary, it is much more efficient to eat vegetables than to take vitamins.