Vitamins and minerals are important substances that provide your body with the tools needed for growth, strength, and repair. Wholesome foods are the best sources of the vitamins and minerals crucial to growth and development. However, many of these nutrients are also available neatly packaged on drugstore shelves in the form of pills, powders, and injections. It may seem easier to pop a few pills than to take the time to peel an orange or prepare a nutritious meal. Unfortunately, supplements may not be the best way to provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Some are not well absorbed, are unnecessary, or may not provide the benefits you seek.
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that gives fruits and vegetables a bright orange hue and provides antioxidant properties. This substance is converted into the vitamin A used by your body for immunity, growth, and development. It also promotes the formation of red blood cells, skin, and bone. Vitamin A is also an important nutrient in eye health. While some tout the benefits of beta-carotene supplements to fight cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends obtaining beta-carotene from natural food sources such as cantaloupe, carrots, and green leafy vegetables. In fact, some studies have linked high doses of beta-carotene supplements to an increase in lung cancer.
10. Folic Acid
Folic acid is a nutrient important for forming red blood cells and for preventing birth defects like spina bifida. Since this vitamin is important for fetal development, pregnant women often take it for the health of their developing babies. Beyond pregnancy, folic acid has been studied for its benefits in preventing conditions like colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, some studies have shown that rather than decreasing cancer incidence, folic acid supplementation may actually contribute to the risk of colorectal cancer. If you are not a woman of child-bearing age, stick to obtaining this important vitamin from beans, leafy green vegetables, and enriched breads or cereals.