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The Use and Value of Supplements


Supplements Have Their Place
Vitamins and Minerals

Debate rages over the value of supplements and even the value of organic Vs. non-organic food. However, there is no debate that your body requires specific kinds and quantities of nutrients to be healthy. It is foundational to your well-being. Before I discuss Supplementation, it goes without saying that everyone should try to get the majority of their vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, fats, and fiber from whole foods. The human body is designed to ingest whole foods and break them down in a certain way. Case in point: eating an orange is better than drinking processed orange juice. The orange has vitamin C and fiber that slows the digestion of carbohydrates and utilizes the nutrients more efficiently. Even organic, processed foods are generally harder to digest and not the best nutritional source.


Healthy Food Supports a Healthy Life
Whole Foods are Your Best Source of Nutrition

However, you can't always get the variety of food required to meet your nutritional needs. Even if you do and prepare them properly, you can't always be sure you're getting enough of what you need. In 2011, Scientific American published Dirt Poor: Have fruits and vegetables become less nutritious? They state, "Because of soil depletion, crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today." In general terms, you need to eat more to get the same value from the food we eat today than decades ago. Let's say it only took one cup of broccoli to get the nutrients you need from that food; now, you might need two or three cups.


Choose Your Supplements and Food Wisely
Not All Supplements are Created Equally

The FDA has an excellent chart that details every vitamin and mineral—what they are, what they do, foods that are a source, and the minimum daily amount required for the average person. The italicized is a critical notation. Many things play into personal requirements, like weight, gender, age, current health, and activity level. A 50-pound child's needs are very different than a 280-pound powerlifter. However, it is fair to say that the average person doesn't eat the variety or the quantity of food to receive the appropriate amount of nutrients to live an optimum life. If they did, we wouldn't see the current incidents of disease and deficiencies.

 

This fact shouldn't preclude our desire to strive and do a better job with our eating habits. However, it can be challenging to maintain our dietary prowess. Travel, illness, and personal circumstances can easily throw a monkey wrench in the mix. Supplementation provides a means of meeting the desired result. Be cautioned all supplements are not the same. Some manufacturer's claims of vitamin and mineral efficacy are unfounded. It is important to research the brand before you buy. Without naming specific brands, through research and experience, I think multivitamins created using organic whole foods sources are the best. Also, before you start anything more than a routine of multivitamins, research the potential benefits and side effects. Your General Practitioner (GP) has minimal schooling and experience in this area and is not the best source. A consultation with a certified nutritionist is better, but use your GP if one is not available in your health care plan. Communicate your needs, goals, and concerns no matter whom you consult.

 

So, make your food choices and portions wisely. Food is life; better food and proper portions establish a more robust and healthy life. You can't always eat prudently. When done correctly, supplementation is viable and a necessary alternative for some high-performance athletes.



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Somulis is useable by Anyone, Anywhere, and Anytime
Couple on the Beach with their Somulis

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