Supplements: Whole Food vs. Single Ingredient
Supplements are great… there are so many reasons to pack in extra vitamins and nutrients! Maybe you are active, or just want to maintain health and wellness, maybe you are recovering or improving your health from a non-optimum condition. Whatever the reason, you know that taking daily vitamins is good for you. But not all supplements and vitamins are created equal. Many of the vitamins available contain just a part of the vital nutrition of the food from which it was derived. Let’s take a quick, closer look at the difference between getting the whole plant in a supplement, versus just an “active ingredient” or two.
Food Isn’t All ThatThis first part has a lot to do with why you probably take supplements in the first place: food isn’t what it used to be. From processing and frying, down to the very soil in which it is grown, the food in the United States (and quite possibly the world) has gone downhill in quality in the past several decades. A big part of that is the growing and harvesting process itself. Ever tasted a homegrown tomato? Homegrown spinach? Apples straight off the tree? When allowed to ripen, food tastes better (and packs greater nutritional punch). What’s more, food grown in America decades ago contained greater nutrition than it does now–even if you skip the processed foods, eating healthy isn’t as healthy as it once was! Some of the main reasons for decreased nutritional content of food include:
- Mass production to meet demand, which utilizes more machine growth and picking
- Regrowing in the same soil, which depletes nutrients
- Single crop growth, which also depletes soil nutrition
- The use of pesticides and herbicides, which kill off unwanted pests but can also impact the healthy biome of soil and food
- Off-season usage requiring off-season growth or shipment from other climates
- Transportation requiring picking earlier, so food ripens in shipment instead of in the soil/on the vine/etc.