This post is considerably longer than my normal post, because it is an article with tons of great information in it. I promise it will be worth the few minutes it takes to read it:-)
I wrote this article for Nextlogical, a health benefits company that really “gets it.” There are a few modifications in this post, but the basic content is verbatim.
The recommended daily values (RDV) for vitamins and minerals were established decades ago. These nutrient levels were set as the required amount of a vitamin or mineral to avoid deficiency diseases such as scurvy and beriberi. For example, if the human body receives 60mg of Vitamin C in a day, it will not develop scurvy.
However, there is a vast difference between the level of nutrients the body needs to avoid deficiency, and what the body needs to be optimally healthy. As nutritional science has evolved, it has become quite clear that today’s modern diet is lacking in the nutrients needed to keep it vital as evidenced by the continued increase in the incidence of disease.
I call the RDV the RIDICULOUS DAILY VALUE because if this is all you get in your daily supply of nutrients, you are definitely headed for health issues!
In a perfect world, our bodies would get everything we need from the foods we eat. However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Over the last several decades, our bodies have come under increasing attack from a plethora of environmental toxins and pollutants that create a higher demand for nutrients the body needs to protect itself, as well as function normally. At the same time, the nutrient content in the available food supply has greatly decreased, creating a perfect storm that is fueling the increase in cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disease, etc.The dietary solution to this challenge is as simple as using high quality nutritional supplements.
60,000 different chemicals are consistently released into the environment. All of these chemicals are tested as “safe” in isolation. But what happens when they are co-mingled? Billions of pounds of herbicides and pesticides go into the environment a year. Millions of tons of chemicals are added to food. Heavy metals from industry and exhaust are excreted daily. All of this creates a strain on the immune system as they occupy space in the body.
Dr. Dwight McKee, one of the world’s foremost authorities on wellness and nutritional science, provides a concise explanation of the state of the food supply and its implications in wellness, “In the past 50 years, our food supply has changed more dramatically and severely than at any time in human history—from the way plant and animal foods are grown and harvested to the way they are processed, stored, distributed, and prepared. Today foods are stripped of fiber and nutrients (we call this“refining”) in order to extend shelf life and make shipping possible. A plethora of chemicals is added to the basic foodstuffs: stabilizers, colorings, flavorings, texturizers, flavor enhancers (such as MSG), altered fats, and preservatives. These foods are grown with the aid of millions of tons of petrochemicals, on topsoil that has been drained of its micronutrients in a half century of increasingly intensive chemical agribusiness. We consume “junk” and “fast foods” that are loaded with calories and damaged fats, with very few nutrients, and wash them down with quarts of soft drinks—all products of the 20th century. The consequences have been an epidemic of obesity and degenerative diseases. We don’t die from the infections and trauma that our ancestors did, but we now fear heart disease, diabetes, and malignancies, as they feared a plague called Black Death, tuberculosis, and smallpox.”
“The consequences have been an epidemic of obesity and degenerative diseases. We don’t die from the infections and trauma that our ancestors did, but we now fear heart disease, diabetes, and malignancies, as they feared a plague called Black Death, tuberculosis, and smallpox.”-Dr. Dwight McKee
Fruits and Vegetables:
It is widely known that fruits and vegetables are key foods in obtaining the necessary vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber which is critical for proper cleansing and elimination (whole grains are also an excellent source of fiber). It is suggested that we eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day in order to meet the RDV for our key nutrients. Yet, the average American consumes only three servings of fruits and vegetables per day (potatoes do not count). A recent survey of 11,000 Americans showed that on many days, 17% ate no vegetables and 41% ate no fruit.
the average American consumes only three servings of fruits and vegetables per day (potatoes do not count).
Fresh fruits and vegetables are not convenient in our fast paced society, are expensive (the average family of 4 would have to spend about 40% of their food budget to get the recommended amount), and in most cases aren’t readily available. Most store bought fruits and vegetables are at least a week old, having been picked and shipped 1000 miles or more. They are picked before they are ripe to eliminate spoilage which means they do not mature to their full nutritionally potency. Once they leave the vine or tree, they begin to lose what potency they have and each day they lose a little more.
In addition, an extensive USDA 30-year study showed that the nutritional content of most fruits and vegetables has declined dramatically. For example, Broccoli today has 50% less Calcium than 30 years ago, and Apples have 40% less beta carotene. This is due to modern farming techniques and depletion of the soil.
extensive USDA 30-year study showed that the nutritional content of most fruits and vegetables has declined dramatically.
The result is simple. The population is insufficient in most important nutrients (and chronically deficient in several such as Vit. D, Antioxidants, Magnesium, Calcium, Chromium) which is a root cause of many health issues.
All Supplements are not created equal:
When choosing a supplement, how do you know what to take? Think of it this way; just as there are differences in the quality of foods, there is differences in the quality of supplements.
Cold-processed: Heat destroys vitamins and enzymes. When you cook vegetables, you lose much of the vitamins. The same is true with supplements. You have to use supplements that have been made without heat.
Bio-availability: Preservatives and binders are needed for store-bought supplements because of extended shelf life. However these also affect absorption into the body. There is also a synergy between nutrients in that they work with each other in the body. Cheap store bought brands have minimum bio-availability.
Freshness: Just like you wouldn’t want to eat a 2 year old apple; you don’t want to use a 2 year old supplement. It’s best to order from a small batch manufacturer that ships to you so you can ensure the freshness.
Most Important Supplements:
Multi-Vitamin and Mineral- Preferably one that has at a minimum all of the RDVs and higher levels of the antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
Fruits and Vegetables supplement: There are many other micro nutrients in fruits and vegetables that are valuable to the body. Taking a fruits and vegetable supplement will help meet the need for these that is lacking from too little in the diet.
Omega-3 fatty Acids: These nutrients are important for the heart and brain especially and are difficult to obtain in the modern diet. For example, to get a healthy amount of Omega-3 from the diet we would need to eat 4 servings of fish per week. This is expensive and poses a potential health risk depending on the type of fish due to the elevated mercury levels.
Fiber: Most Americans fall woefully short of the needed 30 grams or so of fiber per day. Fiber is essential for cleansing the body, weight control, blood sugar and cholesterol control, and regular elimination.
The old adage “an apple a day…” is a great approach, but in today’s world, it is now several apples a day and take your supplements!