Many of us are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, look after our bodies and eat a balanced diet filled with all of the essential nutrients for optimal health.
Supplements can be quite a controversial topic with some people arguing that you should get all of your nutrients from food, and if you are eating a balanced healthy diet, you should be pretty well covered. That may have been the case once but these days, there are many reasons why you might be nutrient depleted, and why a supplement might be a worthwhile lifestyle choice.
The mineral content of the soil that crops are grown in diminishes with repeated harvests. This results in crops that have fewer nutrients to grow. Fertilizers contain enough nutrients to see crops to harvest but not enough to support human health.
Shopping for organic produce can be one way to avoid this issue because many organic farms practice crop rotation to prevent soil depletion.
While still on the subject of crops and fresh produce, the transit times between harvest and the product making it to the shelves can be weeks or months. Nutrients start to diminish from harvest and some vegetables lose 50% of their nutrients in just 5 days, so you have to wonder how many are left when we finally purchase them.
Modern production methods have also seen the depletion of nutrients from water. There is a huge variation in the mineral content between bottled and tap water, and tap water generally contains more minerals. Filtered water has had important minerals like magnesium removed and tap water contains high levels of fluoride.
We all know that water intake is necessary for our survival and consuming enough water is an integral part of optimal health, but tap water has too much fluoride, filtered water doesn’t have the magnesium we need and bottled water is nutrient depleted. This one is a case of opting for the lesser of the evils and supplementing what’s missing. It is much easier to supplement magnesium than deplete the fluoride you have already ingested.
Stress and lack of Sleep
Life can be hectic and stressful with work, family and all the extra curricular activities (which are many in my house of late), and stress takes its toll on our bodies. Lack of sleep adds to the stress and the impact on the body. They affect the immune system and speed up the aging process, which is something no-one wants. To combat the effects of stress and lack of sleep, we need to make sure we are taking in a higher concentration of nutrients
Today many of the foods that we eat have been chemically processed, they are made with refined ingredients and artificial substances; while these foods may taste good, they contain little of real nutritional value.
A great way to combat this one is to try and eat as much unprocessed food as possible. Start reading your ingredient labels and look for the less refined options. Go fresh and natural as much as possible.
There are many other factors in everyday life that affect the nutrients that we need, we absorb and we actually take in.
Children need more nutrients for healthy growth while older people need more nutrients because the way we absorb nutrients can change as we age and can depend on medications we may be taking. An intense exercise regime will mean a higher nutrient requirement for energy production and recovery. Low calorie diets also equate to diets lower in nutrients.
All of the reasons mentioned above play a part in why you are nutrient depleted; and changing the way you eat and the way you shop can make a difference to the nutrients you absorb, but even so, it is very difficult to acquire all the nutrients you need from food alone. Optimal health is assisted by supplementation.
If you don’t feel you need a multivitamin, take a look at your diet and see where you may need to supplement because of a deficiency in what you can realistically gain from diet alone. Some important nutrients to consider for supplementation are magnesium, omega-3’s and calcium. Calcium supplements made from algae have been shown to deliver more calcium to the bones than traditional calcium supplements.
Do some research before you race out to hit the supplement shelves of your local pharmacy because not all brands and not all products are created equal.