Taking vitamins is a very personal choice. Many people swear by supplementing their existing diet with a variety of vitamins, fish omegas and minerals as they believe it provides huge benefit to their skin and body. However, others believe it’s a complete waste of time, effort and money. There have been many studies conducted over the years that suggest supplementing your diet with essential vitamins can increase IQ, improve the health and state of internal organs, lower blood sugar levels, boost your immune system, protect from diseases and help to repair damaged skin cells. But is it worth taking daily supplements, or are they just another thing to waste our cash on?
Patrick Holford (a British nutritional therapist and author of over 34
books,) has stated a typical human should be consuming at least fifteen
pieces of fruit and veg a day to be at their absolute healthiest; these
essential foods feed the body with the essential nutrients it needs to
work to its full potential. In our modern day society, fast food is at our finger tips, meats are no longer organic unless you pay extra and vegetables are frozen before being transported all over the world… Is this really healthy living? Historically there was no such thing as a refrigerator or supermarket; everything was fresh and organic by default (without having to pay more for such a luxury, like we do today.) This naturally led to our ancestors leading a healthier existence, consuming a higher proportion of vegetables and cooking with fresh ingredients.
The truth is the foods we are consuming today that are known to be ‘healthy’ are, most of time, the exact opposite. Our lives are extremely hectic, which makes it hard to regularly eat five potions of food and veg a day (let alone Patrick’s suggested fifteen!) We’re reliant upon a microwave, preservatives, mum going to Iceland and brightly coloured concoctions. This is the whole reason why reputable nutritionists are now strongly advising us to be supplementing our daily diet to ensure we are properly feeding our bodies with all the goodness and nutrients it needs. (However, supplements should only ever feed nutrient gaps, rather than replacing a healthy meal plan altogether.) So all you need to do is pop down to your local Holland and Barrett’s and pick up a multivitamin right? Wrong! It was discovered a few years back that many of the supermarket vitamins were actually full of sugars and preservatives, as apposed to the actual quantity of ingredient they have disclosed on the packaging. So there was a good chance 1000 IU of Vitamin C might have only been 300IU, with a side order of glucose and a range of other nasties.
So how can we make sure we get the right supplements that our body really needs? Start by looking at your diet and trying to identify the shortfalls – are you getting enough Vitamin D, Calcium or Iron? Are you suffering from sleep deprivation, broken nails or dry skin? These symptoms often show us what our body is missing and help to identify what supplements we should be taking. Try to purchase an organic range of vitamin that has a certified soil association stamp present on the front of the packaging; this will ensure you are ingesting exactly what the packaging is stating to gain optimum nutrition. Avoid buying supplements from supermarkets and health food stores like Holland & Barrett, as their strength will be minimal and won’t provide you with the real nutritional benefit you need. Searching online for brands such as Lamberts will ensure you get the most for your money and you’ll start to see positive impact within around six to twelve weeks. However, remember that supplements will only support your body and will never be a quick fix or a miracle cure. Do you take supplements? What supplements do you swear by?
Written by Amy Bambrick