Why Is Complete Nutrition Important? What Are the Benefits?
There are a number of benefits to complete nutrition, including but not limited to:
Stronger Immune System
When you have complete nutrition, your body has what it needs to function optimally. That means that it can focus energy on your immune system. When foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses hit your body, and this happens on a daily basis, your immune system kicks into action and isolates and kills the invaders. If you don’t have complete nutrition, your body has to compensate for that lack. When it has to compensate, it’s weaker.
You need a number of nutrients in your body for your metabolism to function well. Your metabolism is a complicated system of hormones, enzymes, and chemical reactions. It needs specific minerals and vitamins to manage different levels of the process.
For example, your thyroid is a gland that releases hormones that impact your metabolism. When this hormone is low, your metabolism slows down. You feel lethargic, you get sick more often, and you gain weight. Vitamin D, B, and C are important for healthy thyroid function, as are many minerals including selenium.
Because your cells and systems require essential nutrients, when you fuel your body with these nutrients it has what it needs to thrive. It’s not compensated. It’s not weakened. It’s able to function optimally. When you’re compromised and your body has to work extra hard, that’s when disease happens, which ultimately shortens your life span.
As you can see, complete nutrition is essential for optimal health. So why not take a supplement? Why rely on food when a pill can help you give your body the vitamins and minerals that it needs?
Why Not Just Take a Pill?
People take supplements for a variety of reasons. Common logic for some is that they eat healthily but they take a multivitamin for insurance. It’s a just-in-case option – a Plan B, so to speak. The other reason that people take supplements or a multivitamin is because they believe that they’re staving off disease.
Many advertisements for supplements will tell you that taking a multivitamin will help prevent heart disease. There are vitamins for men and sexual health, for women and memory loss and for teenagers too. There are even gummy candy-like multivitamins to make them more fun to take.
The truth is that vitamin supplements aren’t doing what they claim. Many studies have proven that supplements really do little if anything at all. And one large study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that both multivitamin and mineral supplements did not work any better than placebo pills. In turn many doctors have stopped recommending that their patients take multivitamins.
Could It Be Dangerous?
Additionally, many people believe that taking vitamin and mineral supplements is causing vitamin poisoning. According to poison control centers, there are more than 60,000 reports of vitamin toxicity annually.
It’s Your Money
Think about the answer to this question…would you rather spend your money on food or on vitamins? Estimates are that 150 million people use supplements annually and they spend more than 20 billion dollars. How much did you spend on supplements last year? Would you rather have spent that on something else?
Generally, people enjoy eating much more than taking pills. And nutritious food can and does taste wonderful. You can get the complete nutrition that we talked about, and you can do it without taking a supplement.
What Nutrients Do You Need?
If you’re striving for complete nutrition and you’re looking to get it from food, it can be helpful to know what vitamins and minerals most people fall short on. These are generally nutrients that can be difficult to get from a standard American diet.
The daily recommendation for calcium is 1,000 milligrams a day. Calcium as you may know is good for bone health. It’s also an important part of the digestive process and other metabolic processes.
Calcium is essential, in fact, for creating energy from your food. And many people just don’t get the calcium that they need on a daily basis. It’s such a problem that many physicians consider it to be just short of an epidemic.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “In the United States alone, 10 million people have osteoporosis, and 18 million more are at risk of developing the disease. Another 34 million Americans are at risk of osteopenia, or low bone mass, which can lead to fractures and other complications.” (Source: http://www.aaos.org/about/papers/position/1113.asp)
You can find calcium in dairy products of course. But if you cannot have dairy products, then consider looking at fortified dairy alternatives, dark leafy greens, and fish with bones like sardines.
Potassium is another mineral that is often difficult to obtain. On a daily basis you need 4,700 milligrams a day. The average banana has 422 mg of potassium. Potassium helps regulate your blood pressure. It may also decrease bone loss, reduce your risk of bone loss, and help with your cardiovascular health. It’s also part of the energy creation process.
Foods that are high in potassium include potatoes, tomatoes, and beans (including soybeans), Swiss chard, dates, avocado, fish, and raisins. It’s important to know that Swiss chard and avocados have almost 1000 mg of potassium per serving.
Bananas, while delicious, aren’t the potassium powerhouse that many believe them to be. They’re great, but if you really want a good bang for your buck, try an avocado.