The best vitamin isle in any super market is the fresh fruit and vegetable section – especially if you are in an area that stocks local organic produce, free from pesticides and ‘long life’ sprays.
Nature’s own nutritional science leads the way when it comes to nutrients, energy, disease prevention and living a long healthy life. So why do we insist on buying packaged vitamins that are stripped from their natural source, processed and delivered back to us in a pill? Is it the fact we feel comforated by the marketing and messages that tell us the multiivatema will meet all our daily needs? Are we getting the whole picture?
There is merit for supplementing vitamins, amino acids and minerals via high quality products that are derived from their natural source, when our local supplies are limited and we lead such busy lives. However the argument is making sure your body can actually use and assimulate the amounts required whtn they are note delivered in the state as nature intended – i.e combined with fibre, other minerals, vitamins and a delicate balance that enables digestion, absorption and use wihtin out bodies.
Each food group provides sources of vitamins and minerals – but no one group can meet all your nutritional needs. Balance of fresh food and natural ingredients is key.
How do we get the right information to make informed decisions on vitamins, supplements, proteins and packaged products versus 100% fresh fruit and vegetables as a daily dose?
Start by being aware of the vitamins and minerals that are naturally contained in fresh foods you can eat, digest and absorb in their intended state. Here are some summary elements contained in natural, non GMO fresh food groups: (The below listed are inclusive but not exclusive to all )
- Fats, Oils & Sweeter natural foods contain Vitamins A &E
- Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese, & Dark Green leafy vegetables contain Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zince, A,D, B12 and riboflavins
- Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts and dark green vegetables contact iron, zinc, magnesium, chromium, sulphur, iodine, selenium, phosphorus, copper, fluoride, B6, K, B12, A, D and thiamin
- Vegetable Group contain iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, riboflavins, niacin, folate, vitamins C, A, E and K
- Fruits contain iron, potassium, vitamins A and C
- Grains and rice contain iron, zinc magnesium, copper, sulphur, potassium, sodium, chloride, B vitamins and even vitamin E…
What are the factors that may limit you meeting your nutritional needs:
Geographic location, age, gender, life stage (i.e pregnancy). For example consider where you live. Are you in an area rich in sunshine then most likely your local produce will be higher in vitamin content than produce farmed in cooler climates with limited sunshine hours. These cooler climates with less sunlight tend to have produce higher in mineral content from their soil. Note we are talking natural content not GMO or fortified soils and additives.
Here are 5 top tips to get the most vitamin and mineral support from fresh foods before you supplement:
- Avoid storing your fresh fruit and vegetables in plastic – take them out of the packaging and consume within a few days of purchase.
- Snap fresh fresh fruit and vegetables from the market so you can defrost mid week and have the benefit of their fresh state rather than 4-5 day old vegetables (it’s advisable to wash or steam them before freezing to retain flavour and stop enzyme activity that destroys the vitamin content)
- Cut and prepare your vegetables just before you use them for cooking or to serve – this minimises exposure to heat, air and light
- Do not overcook your vegetables – retain their goodness and fibre by serving them slightly crispy and crunchy
- Get the whole picture – you need a combination of food groups for your body to function at it’s best. Don’t be afraid of grains and complex carbohydrates -do your research and select organic alternatives that can provide the fibre and nutrients your body needs.
The case for supplements
There are always cases where supplementation can be beneficial – just make sure you have put time and effort into having a good healthy fresh food based diet as possible before you resort to the packaged variety of additional supplements. Also go for quality supplements that are free from additives, preservatives and are in the right combinations for absorption. I often take Vital Greens with me while traveling if I know that I am limited in timing for fresh ingredients, on planes a lot or won’t have access to fresh smoothies and juices. For more tips on this have a look at the links below.
Situations when supplementation can be useful (but not completely necessary if a well thought out nutrition plan is undertaken)
- Injury (ie taking Glucosamine for joint repair – chosing vegetable based rather than shark derived glucosomine for example)
- Pregnancy (Folic acid, iron etc)
- Illness and recovery
- Geographic location
- High Stress
- As advised by a reputable practitioner that understands nutrition, physiological and medical needs
- For sports, endurance and high performance activities – there are animo acids that our bodies cannot produce and with high level performance we require these for essential body function.
In summary – get back to basics in understand nature has a science that is far beyond what we can actually ever create ourselves. Ensure your basic diet is made up of as much fresh foods in their natural state as possible and start making educated choices about what you put into your body for fuel, wellbeing and long term health. To add supplements make sure you check with a registered high level practitioner (even in pharmacies there are specialists that work on supplements and can provide you more information).
My 3 fresh food mantras:
- Start looking at the fresh markets and fresh food isle in your supermarkets as a new vitamin and mineral isle.
- The more natural colour it has the better it is for you.
- Look at the whole picture.
If you have the right information you can make the best decision for you and your family. Read, research and be interested in what goes into your fresh food and vegetables. Healthy living is a wonderful rewarding way of life.
Health & Happiness as always!
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