Whole Food vs Supplementation
We all know that a whole food balanced diet is absolutely essential for health, wellbeing and vitality.
We often get asked what is better – getting vitamins and minerals from food, or supplementing them?
Without a doubt, getting your essential vitamins from whole, organic foods is best.
Organic foods are best because they don’t contain any nasty chemicals that our foods are usually sprayed with.
The soil that foods are grown in these days aren’t as nutrient dense as they once were. This means that if there are no nutrients in the soil, there will be less nutrients in our food.
Organic food can however be quite expensive and is not always possible for many people.
With this, I suggest starting small. Take note of all the fruit and veggies you eat with the skin ON, or that have no skin – such as apples, blueberries, strawberries, spinach, brussel sprouts, beans etc. As we are generally eating the skin of these, we are much more likely to be eating the nasties too. Try swapping these slowly.
For foods that have thick skin, or those that you peel, buying organic is not as important straight away. Foods such as pumpkin, avocados, lemons, oranges etc have a thick skin.
So what vitamins and minerals can we get from foods?
We can get almost every single vitamin and mineral we need from fresh whole foods.
- Vitamin B: Cheese, eggs, liver and kidney, chicken and red meat, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), avocados, beans (kidney, black, chickpeas), citrus fruit, watermelon, banana.
- Vitamin C: Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, leafy greens, tomatoes, sweet potato, kiwi fruit, citrus fruit, cabbage, capsicum.
- Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, leafy greens, wild salmon, avocado, mango, kiwi fruit.
- Vitamin K: Cooked kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts, liver, prunes, kiwi fruit, hard cheeses, avocado, bacon
- Zinc: Beef, lamb, pork, oysters, legumes, seeds, pinenuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, cheese, eggs, quinoa, rice, oats, potato, dark chocolate
- Iron: Beans and lentils, tofu/tempeh, cashews, dark leafy greens, liver, sardines, eggs, red meat, chicken, pumpkin seeds.
Now to supplements:
As much as we all know that our vitamins and minerals are best when we get them from whole foods, however many of our fruits and veggies don’t carry the nutrients they used to.
Supplementation can be a wonderful way to boost your vitamin levels, particularly if you have dietary requirements that limit some of the foods you can eat i.e. vegetarian/vegan/dairy free.
Not all supplements are created equally, and therefore don’t impact the body in the same way.
Most nutritional supplements are synthetic – they are made in a laboratory.
We can argue that Vitamin C is Vitamin C, however some studies have been undertaken to examine the effectiveness of these synthetic supplements. Almost every time, the nutrients from food, rather than supplements have a greater uptake and effectiveness in the body.
With this – getting your essential vitamins and minerals from food is our best option in achieving our recommended dietary intake, however sometimes we cannot get all the nutrients we need from the food we are eating. This is when supplementing with high quality supplements can be really beneficial to the body.
Have a chat to your chiropractor about how we can help get the most out of the food you’re eating and what supplements you may need.