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Supplements- Do you need them?

According to several organizations, we can get all of our nutritional needs through our diet. So, are you eating a good variety and quantity of nutrient filled foods? Also, did you know that the soil is lacking nutrients, therefore our food supply is lacking? In 1948, spinach contained 158 milligrams of iron and today it contains 27 milligrams. You would need to eat 6 times as much spinach to get the same amount of nutrition! We may need supplementation for three reasons:

  1. Our lifestyle and habits may not be perfect! It takes time to make healthy changes to our diet, so supplementation may be needed during the process.

  2. Digestive problems may hinder absorption of nutrients. Symptoms may be feeling tired after eating, gas & bloating, bad breath, constipation/diarrhea, skin conditions and headaches.

  3. We can't assimilate enough vitamins/minerals in a day to make-up for a long standing vitamin deficiency, such as eating enough carrots or oranges to fill deficiencies of vitamin A or vitamin C.

Let’s look into each of these categories a little more.

  1. The Standard American Diet, also known as the SAD diet, is grossly deficient in nutrition. According to, three-fourths of the population eats less than recommended levels of fruits, vegetables, dairy and healthy oils. More than half eat more grain and protein than recommended. Most people eat far more than they should of sugars, saturated fats, and sodium and more calories than is healthy.

Dietary Intakes Compared to Recommendations. Percent of the U.S. Population Ages 1 Year and Older Who Are Below, At, or Above Each Dietary Goal or Limit

Data Sources: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2007-2010 for average intakes by age-sex group. Healthy U.S. Style Food Patterns, which vary based on age, sex, and activity level, for recommended intakes and limits. Changes can be made slow and steady for lasting results. It can be hard to decide where to start. You can start with breakfast and consistently make good choices at this meal or with snacks choices. Focus on adding a vegetable to each meal, even if it is a carrot stick, that counts too! Choose whole fruit over fruit products with added sugar. Choose whole grains, like oatmeal and whole grain wheat bread. Avoid snacks with added sugars and salt. Try incorporating healthy liquid fats, such as olive oil and avocado oils. Beverages with no added sugars over sugar laden ones are best. Here’s an example of a healthy diet for 1 day. Morning: Start with a 8 ounce glass of water. Try to drink half your weight in ounces a day of pure water. Breakfast: Vegetable/egg omelet prepared in avocado oil. (Use any vegetables you like, such as onion, garlic, colored peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms) Snack: Piece of fruit Lunch: Lettuce salad loaded with vegetables you like (cucumbers, radishes, carrots, celery, peas, peppers, tomatoes) fish or chicken strips, sunflower seeds, almonds or pecans. Olive oil and vinegar dressing. Snack: Whole grain muffin Dinner: Protein & 2 colors vegetables, (beef or venison roast, sweet potatoes & broccoli or carrots & peas) I like to plan each meal around a vegetable, that way I’m sure to get them in. Small changes are the most lasting and make them a habit.

  1. Even with diet improvements, there may be hindrances to absorbing the nutrients. Digestive symptoms listed above (feeling tired after eating, gas & bloating, bad breath, constipation/diarrhea, skin conditions and headaches) are signs that something needs to change. If ignored, deficiencies can lead to leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, ADD, memory problems, chronic fatigue, skin conditions, and headaches, to name a few.

  1. We can’t eat enough to get the nutrients we need. In the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, it was stated that nutritional data from 43 different vegetables & fruits showed reliable declines in the amounts of protein and minerals from1950 to 1999. The amount of Vitamin C in sweet peppers dropped from 128 to 89 mg. The vitamin A in collards dropped from 6,500 I.U. to 3,800 I.U. The National Academy of Sciences warned that it takes twice as many vegetables to get the daily requirement of vitamin A as previously thought, and this was in 2001! Life Extensions, “Nutritional Values Decline,” March 2001, pp.28-30. Deficiencies of certain vitamins put us at a greater risk for disease. Lacking folic acid increases the risk for colon cancer and heart disease. Without enough vitamin C, increases the risk of other cancers. Deficiency of zinc can be a cause of digestive issues and lack of taste. Some of our habits can cause deficiencies too, like smoking and alcohol. Stress and sugar depletes our B vitamins. Prescription medications, deplete nutrients too, such as statins that decrease Coenzyme Q10. Next time we'll look into Not Just Any Supplements-comparing synthetic and natural options.

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