I have been on a quest over the past year to find the best multivitamin/mineral supplement to not only recommend to my clients, but also to everyone I know…including myself! The pressure was on to find a supplement that was high quality, affordable, effective, and accessible.
This supplement would be used as a health insurance policy, in case the diet was lacking, but also have the potential to unleash health-promoting effects. Even the most perfect and consistent of all raw, plant-based, organic, local diets can’t possibly provide all of the nutrients needed to prevent disease and improve health without consisting of over 20,000 calories daily! We would need to eat fresh, nutrient-dense foods by the barrel….now try imagining that Whole Foods grocery bill! Eek!
I’ve heard the argument, “Well, for thousands of years people have eaten regular food and never needed supplements to get their nutrients, so why would I need one?” As the first part of a three-part blog series, you’ll learn the many reasons why one may need to take a multivitamin/mineral supplement. The upcoming articles will explain how to decipher the label of supplement bottles, best practices for taking this supplement, as well as the final reveal of my top product and where to get it!
Top reasons to take a multivitamin/mineral supplement:
1. Nutrient depleted food
The nutrient content of even the healthiest, unprocessed foods is low compared to those same foods just decades ago. Between farming foods in nutrient-depleted, over-used soil, to improper food preparation techniques, to food processing with unnatural and sometimes harmful ingredients, nutrient contents are not what we think. The spraying of pesticides and herbicides on foods prevents them from developing their own defense system. This also leads to nutrient depletion.
If you are buying produce from your local grocery store, make sure you are checking its origin. Is it from California, Mexico, or maybe China? The distance a food travels impacts the nutrient-content of the food at the time of purchase. Foods, picked from the fields prior to their peak-ripeness and corresponding peak-nutrient levels, travel lengthy distances.
Additionally, foods probably used to contain 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), which is only enough of a nutrient to prevent deficiency of a vitamin or mineral. Now, they could actually contain a fraction of that amount by the time it hits your fork. Furthermore, even the organic, local, brightly colored produce you pick up from the Farmer’s Market may have degraded nutrient content just by sitting in your refrigerator for too long prior to consumption. Research suggests some fruits and vegetables lose as much as 50% of their nutrients within 3-5days.
Then, when you’re finally ready to cook your already nutrient-depleted produce, you boil or steam it to complete mush, causing the color to change, indicating a severe loss of nutrients. People are not soaking and sprouting their whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Meat is charred on the high-heat grills creating harmful carcinogens. Oils are overheated and damaged causing pro-inflammatory compounds. This is a real problem for someone who is at least attempting at eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet. Think of all the people who don’t eat ANY of these foods…which leads me to my next point…
Yes, you may be feeling quite sad right now with this hard dose of reality. However, SAD also refers to the Standard American Diet, which actually is sort of sad! This diet consists of all the vital food groups: sugary breakfast cereals, diet coke, chicken nuggets, and ketchup…oh wait, don’t forget the “C’s”– cookies, cakes, candies, and crackers.
This diet, even if low calorie and low fat, will never keep you healthy for the long run. All of these foods are nutrient poor and high in sugar, white flour, preservatives, hydrogenated oil, food coloring, and various chemicals! This diet is SAD and will make you feel sad because your body is not receiving the nutrition it needs.
3. Individualized need
Let’s face it…we are all different! One person may eat anything she wants in any amount and maintain an ideal body weight. Another person even looks at a cookie and gains 5-lbs. Beyond weight management, our genes also control the susceptibility to acquire certain diseases and therefore our need for certain nutrients.
Between our genetic individuality, current health status, and life stage, there is strong variation in need for specific nutrients. For instance, a growing teenager with acne, a middle-aged pregnant woman with gestational diabetes, and a senior citizen with heart-disease and osteoporosis all have different vitamin, mineral, and macronutrient needs that will support each life stage and medical condition. Play it safe and use supplements as needed.
Okay, okay, enough about the WHY. I think you get the point that it is pretty darn important to not only eat a healthy diet, but also take nutritional supplements.
The next issue to address is “WHAT”. What kind of multivitamin/mineral supplement would be best? What types of keywords should you look for on the label? I will address this in the second part of this series, so stay tuned!