Maintaining a balanced diet is an important key to maintaining good health. Unfortunately, because most men don't eat enough of the right types of foods, such as fruits and vegetables, they can experience nutritional deficiencies in their bodies that may eventually lead to serious health problems.

Many of the foods men consume are often over-processed and lack essential nutrients. Fast foods, for example, have virtually no nutritional value and are full of fat and cholesterol—both of which are detrimental to your health.

Some foods, such as vegetables, are often overcooked, depleting them of essential vitamins. In addition, most men don't consume the recommended 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

This is where supplements come in. Although they are not meant to be used in place of a balanced diet, they can act as "dietary insurance" when vitamin and mineral requirements are not met through food intake alone. Supplements must also be chosen according to your age and lifestyle.

What Are Vitamins?
Vitamins are essential nutrients that support good health. They fall into two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.

Water-soluble vitamins include Vitamin C and the B vitamins. They must be replenished regularly and are absorbed directly into the blood stream to be circulated throughout the body.

Fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamins A, D, E and K, are transported throughout the body by way of the lymph system. Then they are passed to the blood and stored in the liver and fat cells. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, soluble fats are less likely to be excreted from the body.

Mineral Basics
Minerals differ from vitamins in that they are inorganic elements that are produced naturally in the environment. They fall into two categories: trace and major. Trace minerals, such as Chromium, Copper, Iron, Selenium and Zinc, are ones that must be present in the diet, but only in miniscule amounts.

Major minerals are classified as such because the body requires them in larger quantities. This group, which includes Phosphorus and Potassium, helps to regulate the water balance in all of your body's cells.

Get Your Daily Dose
Multivitamin supplements contain the recommended daily allowance for each vitamin and mineral. It is not necessary to take more than the recommended daily allowance because whatever your body does not utilize will be excreted.

Check with your local health food store to find the product that will best suit your needs. A diet that incorporates the proper amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat meats is essential for maintaining optimum health; however, a quality multivitamin supplement can assist in helping you achieve your health goals.

As with anything in life, success requires consistency. Therefore, be consistent, and breakthrough will be your reward!

First published in the May 2003 issue of Changing Your World Magazine, (c) by Creflo Dollar Ministries. Reprinted by permission.