Ask the pharmacist
A healthy, balanced diet consisting of wholegrains, fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and lean meat, should provide you with all the nutrients you need to lead a happy, healthy life.
However, contemporary living doesn’t always afford us the option of sitting down to three freshly prepared meals every day.
Indeed, a government survey shows that although consumption of fruit and veg has increased in recent years, the average intake is still less than three portions per day, with men eating on average 2.7 and women 2.9 portions a day. In addition to the lack of fruit and veg in our diets, soil depletion, processing and intensive farming have all conspired to reduce the nutritional benefits of the food we are eating.
A broad-spectrum multivitamin supplement is a good way of ensuring your body is getting all the vitamins and minerals it may be missing, but it is worth noting that not all supplements are the same.
The best multivitamins are made with 100 per cent active ingredients and are free from binders, coatings and fillers which are used to speed manufacture. At best, these additives offer no nutritional value and at worst they can prove allergenic.
You’d also do well to look for a multivitamin that best suits your needs; highly active people, menstruating women, vegetarians and vegans, the elderly, slimmers, pregnant and breast-feeding women, smokers, drinkers and faddy eaters are generally regarded as being at risk from low vitamin and mineral intakes.
If you’re always rushing from A to B, then you could probably do with a multivit that contains extra vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid. This key B vitamin is needed to convert food into energy and to help support the normal functioning of the adrenal glands.
Remember to balance your busy work schedule with regular, daily exercise. This is of course important for keeping fit, but also a great way of beating stress. No Olympic medals, but a brisk 20 minute walk can make a huge difference.
James Geraghty is the managing director of the Molloy’s Lifestyle Pharmacy Group. He has a degree in biochemistry and pharmacy, as well as 15 years’ experience of the health industry. A huge believer in the importance of exercise and wellbeing, he regularly lectures to active retirement and special interest groups around the county.