Produce Vs Supplements

A healthy diet including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is critical for optimal performance in all individuals.    Vitamin A helps your eye and fights infections, folic acid and vitamin D protects against cancer and heart disease, selenium boast the immune system and calcium builds and maintains strong bones.

So why not simply reach for one of those antioxidant formulas or meg-dose vitamins?  You simply can’t replace the real thing.    Without the powerful source of fruits, vegetables and whole foods we leave a huge gap in our diet.  Too often the quick and easy answer is, “Just take a few supplements as insurance to cover all your vitamin and mineral needs.”.   With a typical American fast pace lifestyle it’s all too easy to start relying on the convenient “health”  foods on the market like energy bars, cereal, and protein drinks that boast of their high levels of vitamins and minerals.

There are several reasons this is a dangerous  trap to fall into:

  1. You can’t replace real food.  Consumer reports states, “The truth is no pill can replicate the benefits of produce.  Researchers don’t know exactly why but evidence shows that stripping nutrients from food reduces their effects.”.    You also miss out on the benefits of the enzymes and fiber that whole foods have to offer.   We need to focus on eating ‘real’ food.   These ‘real’ foods I’m talking about are fruits , vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and low fat dairy.
  2. It’s a costly and unregulated market.  The Supplements business is a $30 billion a year business.  Consumer reports states that many of these pills are a waist of money and some are even harmful.  Don’t assume all supplements are safe.   Supplements do not have to clear the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) before being sold.  It is an unregulated industry so a healthy skepticism of the claims in dietary supplements adds is advised.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit per day.   So the bottom line is, in order to get the full benefits vitamins and minerals have to offer we need to enjoy more fruits and vegetables!

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