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vitaminsIn an ideal world, we would all eat perfect diets and get all the vitamins and minerals we need from our food.  The reality is, most of us need a little bit of help.

Everyone’s bodies are different and have unique needs for various nutrients; however, most of us aren’t getting optimal levels of a lot of nutrients.  Whether it’s your diet, lifestyle, or just the American food supply, there are plenty of ways in which you are missing out on getting the vitamins and minerals you need, no matter how carefully you try to eat.

Adding supplements to your diet can improve your energy levels, clear up skin problems, and help with digestive issues among other things.  If you do decide to start supplementing, make sure you are taking a high quality supplement that is bioavailable (aka it’s actually being absorbed and you are not just peeing it right out).  Good quality supplements can be a bit more expensive, but it’s just an investment in your long term health!

So here are 5 good reasons to start supplementing:

1. Lack of nutrients in the soil.  We can no longer get many of the nutrients we used to from the soil, due to agricultural practices that have stripped the land of many trace minerals.  Fruits and veggies grown in the soil, and the animals who eat them (including us), are therefore also deficient in minerals like zinc and magnesium.

2. Harvesting and transporting practices of fruits and vegetables.  Many “fresh” fruits and veggies that we buy at the store are actually not so fresh: they often travel long distances and are stored for quite a while before they even get to our table.  Every day after being harvested, the nutritional value of produce decreases a little more.  Plus, in order for produce to travel so far and still seem “fresh” when you buy it, many fruits and vegetables are actually harvested before they are ripe, which means they haven’t been able to reach their peak nutritional value.

3. Our eating habits.  Let’s be honest– we live in a fast-paced world and that includes eating.  We often eat on the go, and even if we are sitting down, we tend to eat quickly and not chew our food properly.  All these factors, plus the abundance of stress in our lives can prevent our bodies from digesting our food properly and actually absorbing all the nutrients from our food.

4. We can’t get enough vitamin D from the sun alone.  Most of us living in the northern latitudes (above 37 degrees north) like Colorado, just can’t get enough vitamin D during the winter months.  And it’s not just that we hibernate indoors during the winter: because of the angle of the sun in wintertime, our bodies actually can’t convert the sunlight into vitamin D.  You can also get vitamin D from food, including fish and dairy, but the sun is a major source of this nutrient.  Supplements can help with this wintertime deficiency (and many people actually don’t get enough in summer either).

5. Environmental pollutants and toxins.  The increasing levels of chemicals and other pollutants in our water, air, food, and household products add extra stress on our bodies, which have to work overtime to get rid of these toxins (which we are all absorbing to some degree, no matter how careful we are about what we put in our bodies).  Plus a lot of these chemicals are actively stripping our bodies of many nutrients we need.  Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E can help our bodies combat the damage from these harmful substances.

So if you weren’t sure before, this list should give you a few good reasons to start thinking about adding supplements to your diet.  (Of course it’s always a good idea to talk with a doctor or health care provider before you start taking something new.)

In addition to eating well, exercising, and reducing stress in your life, supplementation is key to creating optimal health.  Take this free health assessment to receive a personalized recommendation on what supplements you should be taking!

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xo Kate

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