Do I really need to take vitamins and minerals if I eat a healthy diet?
It’s a question many people ask. Can diet alone give you the optimum levels of everything your body needs to be fit and healthy and help protect you against serious disease and illness?
Well the short answer is no.
Studies carried out over the last 30 years show that even those who eat a balanced diet fail to eat the basic Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs).
RDAs of vitamins and minerals are set by governments and are there to prevent deficiency diseases such as scurvy or rickets, not to ensure optimal health.
There is a huge difference between a lack of illness and the presence of wellness.
For example, the RDA of vitamin D is 5mcg a day, which will offer protection from rickets. However 30mcg a day, is advised for optimal protection from a number of common cancers.
I regularly hear people knocking family, friends and colleagues for taking supplements, but how wrong they are!
The science of nutrition has identified that optimal levels of many nutrients that our bodies need are just not achievable by diet alone.
Another good example is vitamin B12. As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to absorb B12. Older people need B12 to:
- Reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
- Improve memory
- Offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease
- Improve balance
Many people over age 70 are B12 deficient despite eating an adequate diet in some cases.
The RDA is 1 mcg, but studies show that people over 70 need 500mcg to correct deficiency – that is 500 times the RDA!
The ideal daily allowances are estimates based on what the science is showing us to be the most beneficial intakes of each nutrient. If these levels can be achieved from diet alone then there’s no need to supplement. But for most nutrients, and individuals, this is not the case.
We also have to take into account that studies show us that nutrient levels in food are actually falling – there are fewer vitamins and minerals in fresh produce today than there in the 70s and 80s.
This is partly due to intensive farming on nutrient-depleted soils and also storing ‘fresh’ food for longer (for example did you know that oranges may take four to five months after picking before they appear on your supermarket shelf?).
Also refining foods strips away valuable nutrients. This basically means turning brown into white e.g. white bread, pasta etc. In wheat, for instance, up to 25 nutrients are removed in the refining process that turns it into white flour, but only five are replaced, usually iron, B1, B2, B3 and folic acid.
On average, 87% of the essential minerals zinc, chromium and manganese are also lost. So this is a great reason to choose unrefined foods.
The result of not getting the right intake of nutrients will have an effect on your state of physical and mental health.
You can feel better than just okay
Many people put up with feeling ‘alright’ – maybe they pick up the odd cold or headache or are maybe prone to mouth ulcers, but they think that having low energy, poor digestion, heartburn, bad skin, weight gain, trouble sleeping, depression and more is just normal.
But by getting the right balance of nutrients, you can actually feel energised again, improve your digestion, stop those headaches and get your weight under control.
A large number of scientific studies have been published in respected medical journals showing that by increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals above RDA levels you can:
- boost your immunity
- improve concentration
- aid childhood development
- reduce colds and coughs
- stop or reduce PMS
- improve bone density
- balance your moods
- reduce aggression and anxiety
- increase energy levels
- reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and other chronic 21st century diseases
- generally promote a longer, healthier life
And surely that’s something we’d all like to achieve?
Find out more…
My first stop on the road to better health will always be Aloe Vera drinking Gel, results speak for themselves! Find out more by reading my latest blog posts on Aloe in parts 1 & 2