From taking vitamin D with a meal to popping probiotics with milk, these simple strategies will help keep your supplement game sharp.
Supplements can be complicated stuff. It’s not just a matter of mastering which ones are best for you. You need to remember to take them with the right foods—at the right time—to help them work most effectively. Sometimes, even remembering to take them at all can be tough.
The good news: you don’t need a spreadsheet to keep track of your supplement regimen. These supplement tips and tricks will help you make the most of your daily health helpers (with minimal hassle).
1. Dine with vitamin D
According to one study, your body will better absorb this all-important vitamin when it’s taken with your largest meal of the day—dinner, for most of us. Include healthy fats, like avocado or ground flaxseeds, in that meal to further boost your body’s absorption of vitamin D.
2. Get rewarded for taking a multi
Always forgetting to take your supplements (oops)? This might help. If you live in the US, sign up for MegaFood’s MegaPledge to get legit rewards for remembering to pop your multivitamin. Just by promising to take a multi every day, the first 20,000 pledgers score a $5 off coupon. American pledgers will also have the chance to win a snazzy wellness getaway to NYC. Plus, MegaFood matches every pledge by donating a bottle of multis to those in need. It’s a win-win-win.
3. Wash down probiotics with milk
Which strain? And do they need to be refrigerated? And, um, when do I take them? Probiotics can be confusing. But here’s something clear and simple: they’re best taken with (or 30 minutes before) a meal that contains some healthy fats. Wash down probiotics with milk rather than water to give them a better chance of surviving in your intestinal tract.
4. Don’t take calcium all at once
If you supplement with calcium, avoid gobbling up one mega dose per day. Take it in small doses of 500 mg or less, since your body can’t absorb a ton of calcium at one time.
5. Combine taking a supplement with a daily task
Another trick for forgetful folks: make a habit of taking your supplements at the same time each day, and combine this with another everyday activity. For supplements that work best when taken with a meal, always take them with dinner. For others, take them right before brushing your teeth or brewing your morning cup of tea.
6. Pair iron with freshly squeezed orange juice
Iron and vitamin C are a total dream team, as vitamin C helps your body absorb the optimum amount of iron. Besides fresh-squeezed OJ, other solid sources of vitamin C include bell peppers and strawberries. Excess iron can be harmful, so be sure to check with a health care practitioner before supplementing.
7. Keep supplements in a visible spot
Unless they require refrigeration, store your supplements on an open counter or shelf rather than tucking them away in a dusty drawer. If curious kids or pets would prevent you from keeping supplements out in the open, keep them on your desk at work or in a cute little pill box in your bag.