Do I Need Dietary Supplements?

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Do you take any supplements to help you feel good?

In an ideal world we should be able to get the nutrients we need from Dietary Supplementsthe food we eat but for a number of reasons this is not always possible. 

Time/distance from farm to plate

The length of time it takes for our fresh food to make it from being picked until we are actually consuming it is much longer than it ever was.  If you can buy organic fruit and vegetables from farmer’s markets or direct from the farm itself you can reduce this.

Do you need supplementsNothing quite matches growing your own though.  You can make a raised garden bed out of a few scraps of timber.  You only need a space roughly 1metre square to get started.  Seeds or seedlings are available from all garden stores to purchase or, you can harvest seeds from the everyday fruit and veg you eat and then make your own compost from the scraps for fertiliser.  Research the right kind of foods to plant at the right time of year and the region that you live in.

At my house I grow bananas, coconuts, paw paw and passionfruit.  As you may guess I live in quite a tropical climate so I can grow tropical fruit but you may be better suited to an apple tree.

Home grown fruit and vegetables taste better and are better for you as they contain higher levels of nutrients and vitamins, little or no pesticides, and only organic fertilizers.  Organic is best!  In order to be fully self sufficient you have to have quite a large garden but then you can sell any extra you have in a roadside stall and make some extra cash for nothing.Do you need supplements

The same can be said for meat.  Buying grass fed meat direct from a butcher lessens the amount of bad stuff in your meat, improving the taste and appearance and increasing the levels of nutrients as well.

Preservatives and additives

I have a Thermomix in my kitchen which means that I rarely buy processed food.  This enables me to control the amounts of sugar and salt in the sauces and condiments I can make from scratch and everything is synthetic preservative free.  There are many natural preservatives – salt, sugar and vinegar but most food companies tend to use the nasty synthetic ones.

Sodium Nitrites are used typically in cured meats and they can become carcinogenic when reacting to amines.

Sulphur dioxide and sulphites can cause allergies in susceptible people, with hay fever, hives and even a severe anaphylactic reaction may occur in some.

Potassium sorbate, used to prevent mold in cheeses has been found to damage the DNA of human cells.

And there are studies that show Sodium benzoate to be a leading cause of hyperactivity in children.

For me, the choice is clear.Do you need supplements

  1. Eat organic, and grow your own
  2. Buy whole foods and avoid processed foods and sauces
  3. Avoid cured meats unless it’s nitrate free
  4. Eat grass-fed beef
  5. Bake your own bread

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Sometimes we need to take supplements in order to increase the amount of  vitamins we get as our needs change and our bodies may be slow to adapt to this change.  The first port of call for increasing your vitamin intake however has got to be an improvement in your diet.  There is no point taking any supplements unless your diet is already giving you optimum levels.  Changing your relationship with food has got to be your first priority.  Get some education about what is the best foods for your kind of deficiency.  If you are doing the best you can with your diet, eating nutrient-dense foods alongside healthy eating choices, perhaps a supplement may be used in the short term to complement this.

Iron deficiency is a common complaint for women of child-bearing age and while your iron levels are usually well maintained by a diet rich in leafy greens and red meats, sometimes iron supplements are needed if you need to rapidly increase your iron levels.  Low iron makes us feel tired and fatigued and that is never a good thing.  Iron supplements need to be taken along with vitamin C as this increases the absorption rates of iron in the gut. Supplements may be helpful, but only under the guidance of a doctor who has tested your haemoglobin levels and assessed you as iron deficient.  Long term iron supplement use can be problematic for gut function and even short term use frequently causes constipation so it needs to be used with caution.Dietary supplements

Before you take any sort of vitamin or mineral supplement, please be cautious and don’t over use them.  Remember they are designed to be supplements rather than replacements and nothing can compare with good eating.

Do you take any supplements to feel good? Why?