In an ideal world, everyone should eat nine servings of fresh produce each day and prepare meals in perfectly balanced proportions of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fats. Instead, meals consist of ready-made ingredients mixed with dyes, fillers and artificial additives that make foods less nutritious than they could be.
Many doctors advise taking daily supplements as an antidote to less ideal eating habits, but are these synthetic vitamin supplements really as effective at meeting our nutrient needs as they claim?
Companies with vitamins and supplements generated more than $ 35 billion in sales in 2016, according to Statista. This mass industry grew as lifestyle-related diseases grew (along with the promise that you would solve your health problems with pills). You need to know this before you decide to throw your money into the world of accessories.
First: How do nutrients work?
The body converts energy from food into useful energy for the body with vitamins. Vitamins also help in tissue regeneration and cell development.
There are 18 vitamins, 21 amino acids and 3 essential fatty acids that the body needs to consume for healthy, normal functioning. These nutrients are not produced internally by the body, so they must be ingested from an external source.
Fat-soluble vitamins, vitamins A, D, E and K, bind to fat during digestion and are retained in the body for subsequent use. They are less likely to be deficient in these if you ingest them with food, as they will stick to these fat cells fairly firmly until they need them. Water-soluble vitamins are more easily absorbed by cells, but are also more easily released from the body, ie. every time you use the toilet. We usually need more of these vitamins - B vitamins, biotin, vitamin C, niacin, folic acid and pantothenic acid - because they are easily excreted if not used quickly.
Nutrients the human body actually needs
All the nutrients we need are available in food. Here is a short list of those that are important to incorporate into your body and which are especially easy to find in the form of food. We’ve also included some popular minerals that are often included in multivitamins.
Vitamin A plays an important role in blood cell development, eye and bone health, and immunity. We need 700 to 900 mcg daily. You can find it in kale, eggs and food with an orange tinge: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, melon and mango.
Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B7 and B12
B-vitamins are crucial for metabolic health - converting dietary energy into usable fuel - mood regulation, cell regeneration, immune system health, nerve health, hormone production and an abundance of other key functions in the body . These are most easily absorbed from food, especially eggs, seafood, chicken, fortified cereals, dairy products, legumes and nuts.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It helps the body produce collagen, it has been suggested to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and promote the health of the blood, skin, hair and joints. Although vitamin C has been implicated in improving immune health, vitamin C will not cure or prevent colds. It can help the body absorb nutrients, but only if taken in small doses consistently throughout the day. Citrus fruits, broccoli, kale, red peppers and Brussels sprouts are excellent sources of this vitamin in food.
Vitamin D , which the body naturally produces in response to the sun, helps the body fight infections, helps the nervous system function, and promotes healthy bone growth. Vitamin D also helps the body use calcium, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Vitamin D is best used in its natural form; however, it also enriches many cereals and dairy products, ensuring that the majority of the population remains within healthy limits. Consider adding these, along with fortified soy products, mushrooms, eggs and fish, to your diet.
Vitamin E protects body fat from damage, making it essentially a super powerful antioxidant. It contributes to muscle strength, nerve health and strong cell walls. It is found in fats and oils such as olive oil, almonds, hazelnuts and avocados.
Vitamin K is often confused with potassium (a mineral rather than a vitamin) in dark leafy greens and hybrids. Vitamin K is crucial for blood health: it promotes healthy clotting and wound healing, as well as healthy bone development. Surprisingly, pasture-fed cow butter contains a significant amount of vitamin K (put it on some broccoli for the double goodness of K-goodness), but be aware that if you have blood thinners or contraception, too much vitamin K can interrupt the work of your drugs or cause clotting.
Of course, calcium supports strong bones and teeth, but it is also important for muscle function, blood and blood circulation health, nervous system transmission, and hormone production. You don’t have to drink milk to get this mineral; In addition to dairy products, calcium is also found in legumes, dark greens and fish that contain bones.
You've probably heard the most about folate in relation to the health of pregnancy and the prevention of neural tube defects in infants. Folic acid (also listed on the label as folate and folacin) is also an important factor in cell growth in the body, pregnant or not. Many foods, including cereals, are fortified with this nutrient. It is also found in orange juice, spinach, asparagus and legumes.
Iron is often included in prenatal vitamins or sold separately as a supplement, as it is a key component of healthy red blood cells and the right amount in the body means that the cells receive the oxygen they need. . Hem iron is most easily absorbed from the blood by the body and can be ingested from meat, oysters and meat from organs. Legumes, nuts, seeds, raisins and dark green vegetables rich in iron are excellent non-meat options that contain non-heme iron.
If you opt for the add-on, you need to know a few things.
Overdose of vitamins can be dangerous
Although rare, vitamins A, B-complex, D and iron can be overdosed. These can cause liver toxicity, kidney damage, and nerve problems; in extremely rare cases, death. Don’t be swayed by the thought that a little vitamin is good, so a supplement should be an even better thing. Stick to the RDA for each nutrient and remember that what you eat and how much sun exposure will increase your levels.
Read Labels Carefully
Not every vitamin labeled "perfect" is truly "perfect." In the list of the worst offenders due to mislabeling at the Center for Science in the Public Interest 2016, VitaFusion's MultiVites lacked nine essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B-1, B-2 and K, as well as magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium.
In addition, the labels will show you how much nutrient a single dose contains, which you will want to compare to an acceptable intake or UL limit for each before you take it. If you’ve already consumed a ton of crop, you may not need the supplement to step into the territory of “too good stuff”. Avoid overdosing on vitamins by reading the labels thoroughly.
Supplements should be regulated, but the FDA only actually checks if there are reports of illness or injury due to use. To ensure that you really get what’s supposed to be in each tablet, and that your supplements have been safely reviewed, make sure your brand has been tested by a third party, such as USP or NSF.
Your vitamins may contain more waste than nutrients
Many popular brands of vitamins, even seemingly harmless , such as Centrum, contain binders, fillers and dyes that can be more difficult for the body than the vitamins they carry. These include polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl alcohol, BHT, modified corn starch, and dyes such as Yellow 6 Lake and titanium dioxide. Many of these brands also have levels well below the recommended daily allowance; so low, they are actually negligible and a real waste of money. Keep in mind that many of the vitamins included in these supplements are water soluble, which means they leave the body fairly quickly if not used right away, so a “one day” supplement won’t really give the body what it claims.
So can all of the above intentional food intake be more beneficial than taking supplements?
That ideal world we mentioned earlier where everyone eats healthy , balanced meals with the right nutrient ratio, would also mean that farming methods would not leave food that is genetically free of nutrients, nor land that would be completely depleted due to natural mineral compositions.
Although agriculture in our current landscape, it makes food less nutritious than it once was, a balanced diet - and an almost “balanced” nutrient intake - can be achieved by deliberately eating from several different food groups and different colors (natural colors!) every day. Look for different shades of greens, purple, red, yellow and orange, in addition to more neutral products like mushrooms, onions and garlic to get most of what your body needs every day.
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