Are there better options than bags full of vitamins and pills?
One-third of Americans (and an even higher percentage of Canadians) takes vitamin and mineral supplements each day. Reasons include:
1. Our new understanding of the body's requirements for particular chemical nutrients. For example, Vitamin C helps reduce free radical damage in cells. It's easy to take Vitamin C in capsule form and to assume that it will give you the same benefits as a glass of orange juice.
2. Our food supply is not as nutritious today as it was in the past. This is due to large-scale farming which focuses on quantity, shelf life and profit rather than quality and nutrition.
3. Our modern lifestyle makes eating a balanced diet more difficult. Increased stress has also boosted our need for certain nutrients.
We now assume that a vitamin pill will fill in these ‘gaps’ in our nutrition. It may seem like a simple solution, but they often don't do enough. And sometimes they just DON'T WORK. Why is this?
A report in the December issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association concludes that the formula for optimal health isn't in the supplement aisle of a health-food store but in the FOOD AISLE. The American Dietetic Association is the largest organization of professionals that deals directly with your diet. It also has access to the most data and research in the field. So why do they state that foods are better than supplements?
5 Reasons To Use a Food Based Approach
1. Vitamin supplements are limited to what is written on the label. If it lists 20 chemical isolates, that is all you get. In comparison, every whole food has thousands of different micro and macro nutrients. This is why the better (and the more expensive) the supplement, the more factors it has in it. But the best supplements are whole foods. An orange, for example, has not only vitamin C but bioflavonoids, beta-carotene, folic acid, fibre, magnesium potassium and many other valuable nutrients.
2. Foods contain nutrients we don’t fully understand. Nutritional science is still young. Each day it discovers new phytonutirents which have profound influences on the body. More importantly, nutritional science is only just discovering the relationships between the various nutritional factors: how one factor influences another and how different ratios of nutrients affect the body. The ‘facts’ of nutrition may change tomorrow, so why should you depend on them today?