Do you need supplements?

July 24, 2017 | by Heather Bautista, ND, CNS, LDN
Categories: Healthy Driven Life
In a perfect world, all our nutrition would come from the food we eat. Every person would have the same access to fresh and organic foods, and we would all have a lifestyle that allows us the time and resources to home cook our meals. In a perfect world, we would be eating foods cultivated from nutrient-dense soils and have access to unprocessed, unadulterated foods.

In reality, we are all nutrient deficient in some way.

The World Health Organization recommends eating 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. This is because fruits and veggies contain something that helps support overall health— phytonutrients. These are the vitamins, minerals and amino acids that sustain almost every cellular process in the body.

Fruits and veggies help with immunity, energy level, hormonal balance and detoxification support. They provide fiber to maintain healthy bowel movements and support good gut health. All of this is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Yet, 8 out of 10 people do not get the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This could be due to busy lifestyles, poor food choices, a decrease in the quality of our foods, or simply a lack of access to healthier choices.

Regardless, these hindrances create a gap between what we eat, and what we need to sustain healthy, functioning bodies. So how do we close this gap? The answer is simple: supplementation.

For example, a common nutrient deficiency that is often related to osteoporosis is calcium. Calcium is a component to proper bone health, brain and hormonal regulation, in addition to other important processes in the body, including preventing certain diseases.

Calcium levels are maintained by proper nutrition. But some people do not get enough foods that are high in calcium, such a dark leafy greens. For these individuals, calcium supplementation could help.

There are other supplements that can help us overcome a variety of nutrient deficiencies and provide the needed vitamins and minerals that are missing from our diets.

A good rule of thumb is to be on a high-quality multivitamin. Your doctor can give you more specific guidance on proper supplementation for your needs.

Integrative Medicine makes use of different therapeutic practices, including naturopathic nutrition coaching to help you choose healthy dietary options. Learn more about the Integrative Medicine Clinic at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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