Eat your vitamins.
It is a well-known fact that processed junk and fast foods have become staples in the American diet. Fresh, nutrient-rich foods are often considered taxing on time and finances, deeming these food choices a luxury rather than the standard at dinner tables throughout the country.
Furthermore, multiple studies, dating as far back as 1936, have found that the soil of farmland all across the globe is deficient in micronutrients, lowering their content in produce. To further prove this theory, in 2003, Canadian researchers compared the data of current vegetable nutrient content to data from 50 years ago. Their findings showed that the mineral content of cabbage, lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes had depleted from 400 milligrams to less than 50 milligrams throughout the twentieth century. And, that’s just a sampling of what they found.
The fact is, even if processed junk food and fast food were not a part of the food supply, deficiencies would still be rampant, as soil quality is diminishing at a rapid rate and reducing the nutrient value of produce. The numbers don’t lie. According the CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):
- 9 out of 10 Americans are deficient in potassium
- 7 out of 10 are deficient in calcium
- 8 out of 10 are deficient in vitamin E
- 50 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium
- More 50 percent of the general population is vitamin D deficient, regardless of age
- 90 percent of Americans of color are vitamin D deficient
- Approximately 70 percent of elderly Americans are vitamin D deficient
What supplements should you take?
There are a lot of nutrients that work together to allow the body to function optimally. So, how do you know which ones you need to be healthy and well?
Multivitamins. Large and extensive studies have found a quality multivitamin to be the most valued supplement an individual can take to support their long-term health. In an assessment of nearly 3 million people, less than 1 percent achieved adequate amounts of essential vitamins from diet alone. Basic nutrient deficiencies can leave the body susceptible to heart disease, breast, and colon cancer and many other adverse conditions. Choosing the right multivitamin is often difficult, which makes vitamin deficiency testing and a consultation with an expert physician essential.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the vitamin that functions like a hormone inside the body, meaning that much like your other hormones, it has a lot of really important roles to fill in keeping you healthy. Although vitamin D levels can be improved with daily sun exposure (on clear, sunny days), as well as consumption of cod liver oil, fortified dairy products, oysters, and eggs, supplementation is still necessary. Adequate levels of vitamin D are linked to mood, metabolism, and bone health, to name a few.
Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is rapidly emerging as a superior micronutrient for achieving optimal health. For years, vitamin K2 has been well-known for its role in blood clotting factors, but scientists now understand it has more benefits, including protection against heart disease, formation of strong bones and promoting healthy skin, brain function, growth and development, as well as helping to prevent certain forms of cancer. Much like vitamin D, K2 can be sourced from the diet through grass-fed meat, such as lamb, liver and dark meat turkey. However, supplementation ensures absorption and sufficient intake.