Vitamins and minerals occur naturally in many foods. So why would you want to take supplements? Well the problem is, getting exactly the right amount of these essential minerals and vitamins is actually pretty tough. Even if you eat a wide range of fruit and vegetables, you can still be missing out on something that your body needs. It’s so hard to calculate how much of each vitamin you’re getting. So a supplement can be useful to put your mind at rest that you’re getting every nutrient that your body needs. If your diet isn’t perfect, for example if you feel you don’t eat a whole lot of fruit and vegetables, you could be missing out. Additionally, if you are vegetarian or vegan, again you could be lacking in some vital nutrients.
We can put together a diet plan that should contain all the nutrients our body needs each day. However, this can work out to be expensive. Those foods with the highest nutritional value can be pricey, foods such as line caught salmon and organic vegetables. Also, it’s just not realistic for most of us. To get your full amount of vitamins and minerals, you need to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and healthy meats and fish. Many of us don’t eat this way day in day out. We like our treats, our pasta, bread, pizza,chocolate and other treats from time to time.
Is your food as good for you as you think it is?
Even if we feel that we’re eating foods that have a high nutritional value, you may not be getting the nutrients you think you are. The way we cook our food can deplete the nutrient content, but this can also happen before the food even reaches the stores. Farming techniques and the processing that food goes through before it hits the shelves can also change the levels of vitamins and minerals that are present in the product.
Over the years, the soil in which our food grows has been depleted of nutrients. With intensive farming, the crops take the nutrients out of the soil and new crops are planted so fast, there’s no chance for the soil to recover, and so with each crop the nutrients in the soil become less and less. Of course this has a knock on effect on our meat. The farm animals are eating these crops that are low in nutrients, so the resulting meat from these animals is also lower in nutrients.
Also, vegetables and fruit are grown for flavor. Often the most flavorsome varieties are high in fructose and low in nutritional value. This isn’t something we tend to know about because fruit and vegetables don’t tend to come with a list of nutrients!
We are inclined to think that by drinking water we’re getting lots of important minerals, but if you use a water filter then you’re also filtering out several beneficial minerals. Not to mention the processes your water goes through before it gets to your home.
Some people need more nutrients than others
Some groups of people need extra nutrients in their diet. Perhaps more than they can realistically get from their food without a whole lot of effort. Supplements can be very beneficial if you fall into one of these groups.
So what are these groups?
The young – Well growing youngsters need lots of nutrients.
The old – Also, as we age, our bodies become less efficient at processing the nutrients in our food, so the elderly could also benefit from taking supplements.
Pregnant women – Pregnant and breast feeding women also have different nutritional requirements and there are special supplements available to take during this time in your life.
Vegans and vegetarians – As we’ve previously mentioned, it is easy for vegetarians and vegans to become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, so a supplement is often recommended if you follow this type of diet.
Dieters – If you’re following a low calorie diet, eating less food than usual, there’s a good chance you’re also consuming less of the essential nutrients.
Athletes – Finally, if you are very athletic, you may have a higher requirement for nutrients that you are not getting in your daily diet.
Choose your supplements carefully
While supplements can be highly beneficial for ensuring that you don’t suffer from a vitamin or mineral deficiency, not all supplements are the same. You need to pay close attention to your supplements and only buy products that are totally natural with no fillers or artificial ingredients.
Find a good balance with the addition of supplements
Just because you’re taking supplements doesn’t mean you can simply eat unhealthy foods. A good balanced diet, with the addition of some carefully chosen supplements, with some occasional treats thrown in is the best way to stay fit, healthy and happy.