As a health coach, I am often asked about nutritional supplements. Often, when people decide to get serious about their health, one of the first things that comes to mind is getting on a good supplement regimen.
Truthfully, I think it is less complicated than that.
I believe supplements should be just that … a supplement to an already good diet where you are getting most of your nutrients from the actual foods that you are eating. With the exception of those who are dealing with a specific medical condition, most people are capable of getting all the nutrients they need from their food. I would even suggest that if people are depending on nutritional supplements for their nutrition rather than food, they are most certainly going to come up short.
Don’t you just love how God feeds our curiosity by continuing to provide deeper and deeper levels of discovery about how perfectly he has designed our world for us? Nutritional science is a wonderful example of this.
In the early 1900s, we discovered that foods contain vitamins. These vitamins are the ones you find on general nutrition labels. Vitamins C, B, D etc. We learned that some diseases like rickets and scurvy were a result of not having enough of some of these vitamins that are found naturally in abundance in fruits and vegetables. But because not everyone had access to fruits and vegetables (think sailors on a Navy vessel), it seemed like a good idea to extract these vitamins from their natural source and provide them in a pill form. And that probably was a good idea for those populations … but the discoveries continued.
Fast forward a few decades and we discovered antioxidants. Lo and behold, they are found in colorful fruits and veggies … but we also did our best to extract them and sell them in pill form as well.
Next were phytochemicals and phytonutrients … guess where you can find them naturally?!
We’ve also learned that in many cases what different nutrients are packaged with affects how they are absorbed and used in our bodies. A certain vitamin might not mix well with another unless a third is present in the correct ratio, for example. When we manufactured them and put them together in a lab sometimes they actually had detrimental effects because of what we put together or left out. Thankfully God got it right when he made the foods that we are supposed to be eating.
And all of that is probably just the beginning! What will we discover in the next few decades that will continue to build on what we already know?
The bottom line for me is that God packaged our nutrients in amazing ways that we don’t even fully understand yet. And the best way to get them is … surprise, surprise … eating a variety of whole fruits and veggies.
How do you ensure that you are getting your “vitamins” (whole fruits and veggies!) each day?
Katie Kolb - Health Coach