Why a healthy diet should always be the primary source of nutrients?
Humans have evolved to obtain essential nutrients primarily from whole foods. Most nutrients require enzymes, to work together as co-factors and organic mineral activators to be properly absorbed. While these are naturally present in foods, they are often not included in synthetic vitamins with isolated nutrients.
This is why buying your produce at local farmer’s markets, or even better, picking it from your backyard garden, are better options than buying produce shipped from hundreds or thousands of miles away – regardless of whether it’s conventional or organic.
Fruits and vegetables from local farms are usually stored within one or two days of picking, which means their nutrient content will be higher. And if you have eaten a fresh tomato right off the vine, you can tell that local produce tastes so much better than conventional produce that it might as well be considered a completely different food.
Of course, the best choice is to buy local, organic produce it will have the highest nutrient content and the lowest levels of pesticide and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Most of the produce sold at chain supermarket chains is grown hundreds – if not thousands – of miles away. This is especially true when you’re eating foods that are out of season in your local area (like a banana in mid-winter in Perth).
Consider this: The average carrot has traveled 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table.
Days – maybe more than a week – have passed since it was picked, packaged, and trucked to the store, where it can sit on the shelves even longer.
The problem with this is that food starts to change as soon as it’s harvested, and its nutrient content begins to deteriorate.
The total vitamin C content of red peppers, tomatoes, apricots, peaches and papayas has been shown to be higher when these crops are picked ripe from the plant.
- Whole, minimally processed foods.
- Limits or avoids animal products.
- Focuses on plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, which should make up the majority of what you eat.
- Excludes refined foods, like added sugars, white flour and processed oils.
- Food quality, promoting locally sourced, organic food whenever possible.
Reducing the number of animal products in your diet and purchasing local, sustainable produce helps drive the local economy and reduces reliance on factory farming, an unsustainable method of food production.
A healthy, whole-food, plant-based diet should focus on plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. If animal products are eaten, they should be eaten in smaller quantities compared to plant foods.
Following a whole-food, plant-based diet may reduce your risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, cognitive decline and diabetes.
- Fruits: Berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches, pineapple, bananas, etc.
- Vegetables: Kale, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, peppers, etc.
- Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
- Whole grains: Brown rice, rolled oats, farro, quinoa, brown rice pasta, barley, etc.
- Healthy fats: Avocados, olive oil, unsweetened coconut, etc.
- Legumes: Peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, black beans, etc.
- Seeds, nuts and nut butter: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, tahini, etc.
- Unsweetened plant-based milk: Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, etc.
- Spices, herbs and seasonings: Basil, rosemary, turmeric, curry, black pepper, salt, etc.
- Condiments: Salsa, mustard, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.
- Plant-based protein: Tofu, tempeh, plant-based protein sources or powders with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.
- Beverages: Coffee, tea, sparkling water, etc
Benefits of a plant-based diet include:
- you can lose unwanted weight.
- reduce chronic inflammation (and your chances of developing the chronic conditions that come with it)
- lower your cholesterol.
- lower your blood pressure.
- Clears your skin.
- cut your heart failure risk nearly in half.
- stabilize your blood sugar.
- even reverse type 2 diabetes
Why supplementation may be necessary in the modern world.
While our ancestors were able to get all of the nutrition they needed from their diet, we face several challenges today that make this difficult. These include:
- Changes in soil quality, which reduce nutrient availability.
- Increases in chronic diseases, which increase the demand for nutrients and reduce their absorption.
- A shift to a global, rather than local, food system. Nutrient levels in produce begin to decline as soon as a food is harvested, so food that has been shipped for 3,000 miles (common today) has far lower nutrient levels than local food.
- A shift to industrialized agriculture. Organic produce, pasture-raised animal products, and wild-caught seafood generally have higher nutrient levels than conventional produce, CAFO meat, and farmed seafood.
- An increase in toxins like heavy metals and glyphosate in the food supply. These toxins bind to nutrients and decrease their bio availability.
- An epidemic of chronic stress, which depletes nutrients and increases our demand for them.
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications that deplete key nutrients and/or affect nutrient bio availability.
The truth is that there is a great variation in the quality and thus effectiveness of nutritional supplements. Research shows that they can be incredibly effective—when they are well-designed and properly administered.
The whole foods diet should generally serve as the primary source of our nutrient intake, but incorporating multivitamins can be an additional safeguard to ensure optimal nutrient balance. It is a means to not only prevent deficiencies and diseases but also to promote overall well-being and optimal healthy functioning in today’s world.
It is important to realize that not all multivitamins are created equal.
If you just walk into the local grocery or drug store and buy something off-shelf, chances are that it won’t help very much—and it may even cause harm.
Why? Because many common multivitamins have these three problems:
- They don’t have enough of the nutrients you need.
- They don’t have the right form of each nutrient.
- They have too much of certain nutrients
If you need help with what supplements and dosage you need to take please contact the Clinic on 61866045