Do we need to take supplements or is a healthy diet enough to ensure that we have all the nutrients that we need to stay healthy? It seems the answer is yes. Here’s why:
Depleted soils mean less nutrients
Plants doesn’t only need sunlight and water to grow. They also needs minerals. Ideally, plants should get their minerals from the soil. In nature, plants fall to the ground where they decompose and release nutrients back into the soil. Unfortunately, new agriculture techniques, pesticides and the speed at which we grow vegetables all year around in the same soils, make the soil, and thus the crops depleted of nutrients.
Organic food is of course healthier as it doesn’t contain pesticides or food additives. Organic farming also practice “crop rotation” which lets the soils to recover. However, eating organic food doesn’t guarantee you’ll be getting all the nutrients that you need. A recent study examined scientific articles about the nutrient content of organic and conventional foods for the last 50 years. They found that organically and conventionally grown crops are not significantly different in their nutrient content.
Your food has a long transit before they reach your supermarket
Have you noticed that fresh food from all over the world ends up on your plate? The fruits and vegetables that you see in your supermarket were unfortunately not cut at its peak ripeness and shipped overnight. Most of what you buy have been cut weeks or even months before being shipped to your supermarket. Instead of maturing in the sunlight they have matured in transit which is why much of the nutritional content is lost.
Overcooking food and process food means less nutrients
Eating fruits and vegetables as close to raw as possible ensures that you are getting as much nutrients as the food can offer. Unfortunately, many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants are lost in the cooking process.
Our western diet mainly consists of cooked foods. In addition, we tend to overcook our food. Since we tend to overcook the food that we cook at home, imagine what happens with processed food. Most processed food is lacking so much in nutrients that manufacturers choose to enrich the food with extra vitamins and minerals.
Timing is everything
When you wake up in the morning your body has been without food for at least 8 hours. So, the body is more able to absorb nutrients in the morning/early in the day. Supplements will ensure that you meet your vitamin and mineral needs for the day. It can be especially useful if you exercise.
Not all nutritional supplements are the same or equally effective. If a supplement is natural, you can take them without food because they consist of nutrients from vegetables, minerals or animals that maintain their nutritional integrity after a brief processing for sale and consumption. If a supplement is synthetic, the body can absorb them and assimilate them better if they are taken along with foods and their natural vitamins.
Moreover, it is easier to remember to take supplements of any kind as part of a morning routine. Like this, you don´t need to remember or forget taking them later during the day. Certainly, you can take them when it most suits you best.
Complement a healthy diet
Even if you are eating a variety of healthy foods, you should ensure that you get enough of all the vital nutrients. The job of supplements is to compensate the vital substances that you are not getting from food. Even if you think you are eating enough of nutrients, their bioavailability might be limited. For instance, the amount of curcumin in turmeric is quite low, and despite its efficacy, bioavailability of curcumin is also quite limited in standard turmeric extracts.
However, there are more bioavailable supplements. This means that your body can absorb a much bigger dose, thus maximizing the benefits. There are powder versions that are up to 40 times more bioavailable than standard powder curcumin, and liquid curcumin that are nearly 200 times more bioavailable than standard powder.
Ensuring that you have all the nutrients can help you to keep yourself healthy and fight toxins, infections and inflammation. Remember, when you get a headache, your body is not lacking paracetamol. Instead it is lacking the key nutrients to get back to its healthy state. Just remember that supplements should not replace the meals that are necessary for a healthy diet.
Supplements work with your body’s natural functions
Nutrients are not drugs and they don’t work as drugs do. Instead, nutrients work with your biology by supporting normal enzyme function and biochemical reactions. On the contrary, medications can block or interfere with the normal function of the body. A study showed that taking a supplement, in this case multivitamin, reduced the risk of being diagnosed with a new cancer by 8%. Which could be a consequence of the body of getting all the key nutrients to protect itself.
In a nutshell, intake of supplements is important to ensure you get all the nutrients that are vital for your body to be able to stay healthy. The way in which our food has arrived at our plates has resulted in that we’re not getting enough nutrients.