or trying to conceive need a
multivitamin containing folic acid,
vitamin B12 and iron because they
have increased vitamin requirements.
Vegans may need to supplement their
diets with iron, zinc, calcium, and
vitamins D and B12.
“Try to meet vitamin requirements
from food first, rather than relying on
a supplement,” suggests Thompson.
Thompson also suggests talking to
your doctor, dietitian or pharmacist
before taking any supplements
(vitamin, mineral or herbal).
“It is important that health-care
providers are aware of what you’re
taking,” she says. They can advise
you if supplements could alter the
absorption of any medication you are
taking, as well as let you know about
possible side effects and potential
Before taking any supplement, look
for its Drug Identification Number
(DIN) or Natural Product Number
(NPN). These numbers mean the
product can be legally sold in Canada
and is effective when used according
to label instructions.
“Take only the dose stated on
the label and don’t take pills past
the expiry date,” adds Thompson.
It is also important to read labels
carefully to make sure you are not
allergic to any of the ingredients.
When in doubt, remember that you
can meet most of your vitamin and
mineral needs by following Canada’s
— laura ly
For more about vitamins and healthy
• See Eating Well with Canada’s Food
Guide at healthcanada.gc.ca
• Visit myhealth.alberta.ca or the
College of Dietitians of Alberta at
• Call Health Link at 811.
We live in a “low-fat” world,
where everything from candy to TV
dinners comes in low-fat versions.
The truth is some fat has had a bad
rap. “We need to eat fat,” says Greta
Kubis, a High River-based public
health nutritionist with Alberta
Health Services’ Nutrition Services.
“It is required for optimal health. We
need some small amounts of fat in
our diet, and we need specific fat in
our diet.” What we need are “good”
“Good fats are unsaturated fats,”
Kubis explains. And they come in
not all fat is bad for you
The right fats are essential to your health
two forms: polyunsaturated and
fats are commonly advertised as
omega- 3 or omega- 6 fatty acids.
Good sources of unsaturated fats
include seeds, nuts, grains, fish and
vegetable oils, such as canola, olive
and soybean oil. Canola oil, for
example, is high in monounsaturated
fats, omega- 3 and omega- 6 and has
the lowest level of saturated fat of all
vegetable oils. Dairy products also
contain good fats, which is why it
is is important that young children
drink fuller fat milk. ”Children need