Fresh Food Versus Supplements: Which Are Better for You?
To maintain good health we need certain nutrients that we get from the food we eat – or do we? Research has shown that fruit and vegetables contain a fraction of the vitamins, minerals and trace elements that they did one hundred years ago.
Our food is now produced using chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, genetically modified crops are being produced and used for food and even our air and water contains levels of toxins unheard of at the beginning of the 20th century.
Organically grown food has significantly higher levels of nutrients than commercially grown food but organic is usually more expensive and harder to access in regular supplies. People have gradually become accustomed to being able to buy all types of fruit and vegetables all year round, whether they are in season or not, and now expect this as normal.
Antioxidants are an important ingredient of food in this current situation. Antioxidants help to remove toxins or free radicals from our bodies and this is more important to our good health now than ever before. Plant foods contain more antioxidants than any other food group and of these, green leafy vegetables contain more than any other along with some berries, such as blueberries.
The darker and brighter the color of fruit and vegetables indicates the highest concentration of antioxidants. This is because of Phytonutrients which are mainly found in the skin of fruit and vegetables and are responsible for their color and fragrance. This is where the highest concentration of antioxidants is found.
Lifestyles in the 21st century are very busy with unprecedented levels of stress and worry. Carefully prepared home cooked meals are almost a thing of the past in these hectic times as more families rely on pre-prepared meals and take-out food.
It is not easy to find organic produce to buy and even harder to know if it is genuine. Under these circumstances, it is unlikely that we get high enough levels of antioxidants from our food. Justifiably, many people are looking for supplements to ensure the correct amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients are included in their diet.
Supplements that contain Phytonutrients do have some advantages over fresh fruit and vegetables. They are usually processed from the part of the plants where the nutrients are most concentrated and so have the best antioxidants available. Supplements do not contain the sugars that are in many fruits and only have the nutrients we may be lacking. They are simple and convenient to consume and don’t need any preparation.
Nothing beats fresh, organically grown produce for supplying us with everything we need to maintain good health, but in the absence of such, supplements are a very useful substitute to give us the antioxidants we need.