Nutrition experts agree that the best way to get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs for good health and to function properly is from unprocessed whole foods of the highest quality. In fact your body absorbs more of the nutrition it needs directly from whole foods. We all know that even those of us that try to eat healthy find it hard to always get all the vitamins and minerals we need. Most Americans don’t eat enough fresh vegetables and fruits, eat too many pre-packaged and processed foods and it is reported that 25% eat at fast food restaurants daily. That makes us a country of people eating lots, but not getting the proper whole foods nutrition.
Why Take Supplements
If you are not one of the fast food/fast meal crowd and mostly eat a diet of raw fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, raw dairy and avoid sugars and processed or fast foods you still may not get all the nutritional value you should be from foods. This could be due to food sources coming from nutrient poor soil, farming methods that use pesticides and chemical fertilizers or even cooking methods that deplete nutrients from foods. Research has reported that the mineral content of our soils had 85% less nutrients in 1992 than 100 years earlier. Organic farming methods add nutrients back into soil which is a good reason to buy organic products. But these healthy types of food are usually also higher in price. Many of us just can’t afford to shop for all our food at organic health food type stores. We may prioritize which items we will definitely buy organic and then have to settle for less nutritious selections on other items. Finding locally grown organic farmer’s markets to buy from is another option for some, but it takes more planning and time to shop this way which many find hard to fit into their already chaotic schedules.
Even if you are committed to eating a totally healthy complete diet there are conditions that exist that can affect the nutrition your body is getting from the foods you eat and may have you turning to supplementation. For example, taking NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) pain relievers (including aspirin and ibuprofen), antibiotics or antacids affects the probiotics in your intestines which can affect the absorption of nutrients. If you have an inflammation or chronic pain, your body needs many more nutrients than a person without these conditions. And whether we like it or not, there is no way to escape the environmental toxins we are exposed to daily. These toxins not only can destroy probiotics that help with healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients but cause us to need specific nutrients to help detoxify the liver. The more of these types of toxins you are exposed to, the more nutritional help your body needs. These type of toxins can range from smog to cleaning products to household cleansers to plastics and paint in your home.
When any of these conditions exist, people often turn to taking vitamin supplements.
Getting Good Vitamin Supplements
If you are looking to supplement your diet for any of the above reasons, make sure you are getting high-quality whole food nutrition supplements. Many of the off the shelf vitamins don’t have some of the minerals that are essential for good health. Read the label of any vitamin supplement you are considering. Does it include enough potassium, magnesium, calcium and other minerals to really make a difference in your nutrition? Look to see if it is a synthetic vitamin or one from whole food nutrition. Synthetic vitamins are not readily absorbed by the body, so even if it looks like there are adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals listed on the label, your body won’t be getting the benefits. According to Josepha M. Mercola, DO, multi-vitamins without additives, synthetic nutrients and that give you more than the RDA and RDI guidelines that include essentials minerals can help fill in some of the nutritional gaps in diet.
Whole Food Supplements
Whole food supplements are made from real food sources rather than from synthetic isolates. This means the body will absorb them more readily and be able to utilize the benefits from them. Taking whole food supplements can help you get the most nutrition out of the food you eat, help stretch your food budget, and provide the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, fatty acids and proteins you need to stay healthy. For example, taking digestive enzymes helps you absorb more nutrients from the food you eat. Then probiotics like acidophilus and bifidus help your body process and digest the foods you eat and keep them moving through the digestive system. The AFA bluegreen algae we recommend comes from a unique eco-system in southern Oregon, fed by pure lake and mountain spring waters and is nourished by the rich mineral content of the volcanic soil found there. Nutritionally it includes:
- all 20 amino acids, providing a complete source of protein in an amino acid profile nearly identical to human breast milk
- essential fatty acids, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 in the right balance
- phenylethylamine (PEA), the mental energy activator
- powerful antioxidants, such as chlorophyll, superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and phycocyanin
- dozens of essential vitamins (including B12), minerals, and trace elements
- an ideal balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, complex sugars, and fiber.
If you are looking to supplement your diet with whole foods nutrition to stretch your food budget or any of the other reasons mentioned here, just be sure you are getting a high quality, complete nutrition supplement. Stay away from synthetics as they are usually a waste of money. And when you’re on a tight food budget you certainly don’t need to be throwing money away. If you can’t get all the nutrition you need from eating whole foods, supplements can definitely help as long as you know you stick to getting the “good stuff”.