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Why Do I Need Vitamins or Supplements?

Here’s something I learned after a decade of working in the health and wellness field – trying to change a person’s mind about nutrition is hard.  Many of our nutritional beliefs are passed down from our parents, and while proper eating principles are timeless, our food supply has changed and we must adapt.  For the purposes of this post, nutrition = what one eats, what they don’t eat, and what vitamins they take (if any). 

If someone has been taking vitamins for many years, a conversation about change is usually met with considerable resistance and clinging on to beliefs that are false or out-dated.  Even harder is trying to show those who don’t take supplements that they should add them to their lifestyle.  I’m going to present a couple articles about using nutrition and supplements in order to shed light on some of those misconceptions and to help you live a more healthy, well-balanced life.

Are Vitamins or Supplements For Everyone?

Supplements have become necessary because our current food supply is severely lacking in vitamins.

Why?

In the past 50 years the world’s population has exploded, and with this so has food demand.  This has led to the over farming of land, and with that has come the depletion of nutrients in our soil.

This problem has gotten so bad that the topsoil layer has been reduced from 1 ½ – 2 feet in 1950 to 2 – 3 inches in 2000.  How does this affect you?  According to the USDA, it now takes 65 cups of today’s spinach in order to get the same amount of Iron that was present in a single cup of spinach grown in 1950.   That makes for one very big salad!

In the same study, the USDA found that 43 of the most common fruits and vegetables were significantly deficient in the vitamins and minerals they contain when compared to their values in 1950.  Fruits and vegetables, once known as nature’s medicine cabinet, are many times no longer up to that task of providing our required nutrition on their own (unless you are eating exclusively certified organic, and kudos to you if you are).

A few reasons to eat organic…

Moreover, many fruits and vegetables are genetically engineered to yield larger crop, mature faster, and grow in harsh conditions.  This sounds good in theory, but by chemically altering a natural food it not only loses many of it’s key ingredients, it becomes foreign to our body!

But Wait, There’s More!

There are many other processes – such as the bleaching of rice and flour or pasteurization – that strips our food of it’s  essential vitamins and minerals, turning them into empty calories.  This means they fill you up when you eat them, but they serve almost no nutritional value.  Add to this nutritionally devoid fast food and junk foods, and you begin to see that it becomes very hard to meet your daily nutritional requirements without adding some form of supplementation (caveat: you live on an organic farm or take part in a Community Supported Agriculture program).

In my next post, I will share the difference between whole food supplements and pharmaceutical grade vitamins.  Until then, I’ll leave you with a couple more images that should help you when at the grocery store.

How to get what you are paying for

The worst genetically modified foods

About Cole Bradburn

I'm a writer and doctor in lifelong pursuit of health, happiness, and adventure. I currently live in Raleigh, NC with the love of my life and our amazing boys.

  • Did my wife pay you to write this? Just joking. My wife takes vitamins religiously and she is still working on me. It’s not that I don’t want to or know the importance of taking them. In the past I would just forget to take them so stopped. Maybe I should go at it again. 

    • I know how you feel, the routine is the hardest part.  When I was doing graduate work (and studying these things, mind you) I was also the on-again off-again vitamin consumer.  What it took for me was to really boil it down to the fewest things I could take for the greatest benefit.  That ended up being a whole food multivitamin, an Omega-3 (fish or flax), and a great probiotic.  The rest of things you can pretty much get by eating well.

      •  Great idea. I should start taking them again.

  • Great blog!  What do you think about flax seeds or chia seeds?

    • Good and good.  I traditionally use flax seeds more, but chia seeds are great due to the antioxidants, protein content, and iron.  Both are great for controlling blood sugar too and essential fatty acids.

      • The real lebanese

        Flax seeds are extremely estrogenic…

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