In parts one and two of this series, titled “Take Back Your Life” and “Take Back Your Life 2”; we discussed the importance of proper cell function and the necessity of having and maintaining a balanced endocrine system as they relate to wellness. Here in part 3, we shall examine why vitamins and minerals, including certain trace minerals are absolutely necessary to further insure and maintain a state of wellness and optimum health.
Fresh foods have, in the past, been the main source that provided vitamins and minerals essential to the properly functioning, healthy human body. These nutrients, naturally occurring in some fresh fruits and vegetables, can and have, in the past given our bodies what was needed for health and vitality. Today, however, because of modern farming, harvesting, storage, and food processing methods, our formally nutrient rich food sources contain lower levels of some vitamins and minerals for supporting and maintaining good health. We still need to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in our daily food consumption, but we also need to complement that dietary habit with adequate, high quality, food formed vitamin and mineral supplements in order to insure that our healthy, active lifestyles which include proper diet and exercise are contributing to the desired state of optimal health.
Today, nutritionists remind us that we need to eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables including a healthy balance of dairy products, lean meats, and whole grains. But with modern methods of processing whereby our foods are boiled, microwaved, canned, frozen, refined, pasteurized, and laced with additives intended to help preserve them, our fresh fruits and vegetables are lower in vitamins and minerals today than they were even 30 years ago. One example from a recent study reported that two peaches would have supplied the current RDA of vitamin A for adult women in 1951. Today, a woman would have to eat almost 53 peaches to meet her daily requirements! These losses are due, primarily to the fact that food science has focused on the issues of mass production, visual appearance, and physical features that motivate people to buy rather than nutrient content. The average fruit or vegetable travels 1,500 to 2,500 miles from the farm to your plate. They are grown, harvested, stored, and handled with this in mind as priority of waste and product loss before being sold, trump any concerns for nutrient content and health benefits. There are extensive losses of many important nutrients during all stages of food production as our foods move from the farms to our tables to be eaten. Therefore we must supplement our diets with high quality food formed vitamins and minerals in order to achieve the health benefits that we desire.
Health is defined in Stedman’s medical dictionary as a state of normal functioning without evidence of disease or abnormality. That means feeling good, being symptom free, having all organ systems apparently functioning normally, no evidence of disease, and enough energy to do what we want to do. The lifestyle choices that we make are contributing factors in the quest for optimal health. Choices can be made that will have a major impact on our health. These choices include lifestyle, diet and nutrition. This is why it is highly recommended that we exercise, eat well, and supplement wisely. To be included in our diets are certain fruits and vegetables that help our bodies fend off disease. Amounts recommended include eating 5 to 9 varied servings of fruits and vegetables every day. It is further recommended that these food servings include cruciferous vegetables, citrus fruit, dark leafy vegetables and yellow/orange/red vegetables with three different colors per day. The vast majority of people in Western countries do not eat like this, which leads to poor health and desperate disease states. This being the case, if we will not eat the ideal diet, for whatever reason, it becomes absolutely necessary that we supplement our diets, with whole food based supplements. Isolated synthetics will not do the trick. Food formed vitamins and minerals as close to that found in Nature are best.
“Vita”, the Latin word for “life”, is the root of “vitamin”, the name given to certain nutrients identified as essential to life. Certain minerals have also been shown to be vitally important to human health. Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that work together with enzymes to facilitate the chemical reactions involved in virtually every process in the body. Shortage of necessary vitamins or minerals can block critical functions. A certain level of intake of specific vitamins and minerals is required for optimal health. Micronutrient deficiencies in the diets of many people, I believe, contribute to many of our disease conditions that exist today. And because of this widely held association, I cannot think of anyone who would not benefit from this type of supplementation to their daily diet. Daily supplementation is certainly very important to help avoid the risks to our health that are associated with poor diet. But, be careful! Not all vitamin and mineral supplements are created equal. There are vast differences between brands. Experts have learned that taking too much of certain vitamins is not healthy and can actually cause health problems. Ratios of one ingredient to another can also make a significant difference in how well any vitamin product will work. Be sure to get a comprehensive multivitamin and mineral supplement that is formulated to give you what you need and that is food formed so that your body may recognize and utilize these beneficial nutrients. And above all else remember to drink plenty of pure, enhanced water, move your body, eat well, and supplement wisely so that you can take back your life.