Here are a few reasons why:
• As we know, food in general is becoming more processed. The more something is processed and packaged, the more nutrients it loses. Unfortunately as our lives become busier, we look for ways to save time. Often this means we turn to convenient, pre-packed (and processed) foods, starving our bodies of the nutrients they need.
• Often our produce is harvested before it’s ripe to compensate for the amount of time it is transported and shelved. The nutritional value is significantly lower in this produce than in fruit and vegetables that are harvested ripe and eaten fresh.
• Fresh produce is also stored for long periods of time in cool stores so that seasonal produce is available all year round. There is a reason that fruit and vegetables are seasonal – generally they provide the right kind of vitamins and minerals that our bodies are lacking at that time of year. Oranges, for example, supply us with vitamin C in winter. As time passes in storage, they lose more and more of their nutrients.
• It seems that large supply (caused by demand) is being favoured over quality in general. Fruit and vegetables are often grown for commercial value, rather than nutritional value, opting for size or quantity over vitamin content. And now, as a result of over-farming and the use of fertilizers, New Zealand soil has become more deficient than ever in minerals, such as selenium and zinc.
While the nutritional value in our food plummets, our need for it increases. Our lives are becoming more hectic and stress levels are on the rise. Stress + Stress + Stress = Compromised Immune System. Simply put, stress takes a toll on the body and weakens the immune system. This increases the demand for nutrients, especially those that are required to feed the adrenal glands and detoxification processes we need to combat our unhealthy food and lifestyle choices.
RDAs or RDIs (recommended daily allowance/intake) only account for the minimum, most basic vitamins and minerals required to avoid deficiency and related disease. This is merely survival, not optimal health. In short, natural dietary supplements can make a significant difference to your health and quality of life.
In order to function at its best, the human body needs the right nutrients, in the right amounts so it can perform and carry out all its functions to its best ability.
In a perfect world we would not need supplements. However, a stressful lifestyle, poor quality food, poor food choices and environmental toxins require a basic daily supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to ensure the body’s biochemistry runs smoothly.
An increase or decrease in nutrients or supplements will vary depending on seasons, environments, current lifestyle and whether or not you are sick. More vitamin D, for example, is needed in the winter. A particularly stressful time period will require an increased amount of B vitamins and magnesium. And if you have a cold, your body will use vitamin C and zinc up more quickly.
It’s important to remember that everybody has a different genetic profile which means one person may need a lot more of a certain nutrient than another person.
It is also important to note that not all supplements are created equally. When choosing supplements it is important that you choose quality products. Consider the following factors when shopping for supplements:
• Manufacturers who use GMP (good manufacturing practices) or the equivalent.
• Products that have some basis in basic science, clinical trials, or have a long history of use, testing and safety.
• Products that do not contain harmful preservatives, fillers, binders, excipients, flow agents, colouring agents, gluten, yeast, lactose and other allergens.