Top Reasons We Need to Supplement our Diet
More than half of Americans supplement their diet on a daily or relatively daily basis. While most medical professionals agree that a person can reach their daily nutritional needs through diet alone, supplements can help fill in the gaps when our diets are not enough. The most commonly reported reasons why an individual chooses to supplement their diet is to maintain or improve their health.
Diet supplementation has increased over the past 30 years due to a growing concern of health and wellness and the increase of chronic disease. Research has shown that typically those who supplement their diets have lower BMIs overall and engage more often in exercise than those who do not supplement their diet.
It may be no surprise to most, that the traditional American diet does not promote optimum nutritional needs. Highly processed or manufactured foods are typically devoid of nutrition but ate opted for due to convenience purposes. There is also growing concern about current farming practices and whether or not the foods we do produce contain as much nutrient dense nutrition as they did previously. While our primary focus should be on promoting and eating the freshest and highest quality foods, proper supplementation may benefit those who may have nutritional gaps in their diet.
Those with dietary restrictions may need to consider supplementing their diet. Medically needed restrictions or those of personal food preference could be leaving individuals who eliminate entire food groups without the nutrition their body needs. For example, vegans should routinely supplement their diet with B12 since this nutrient only is obtained through diet from animal products.
Our ability to absorb nutrition also varies due to varying factors. The aging process slows down the body’s ability to absorb nutrition through diet alone. Therefore, a person eating the same amount and type of food will absorb nutrition differently depending on their age. People over the age of 50 also have increased nutritional needs. Environmental factors such as lifestyle choices, medication, or exposure to chemicals may affect the body’s ability to absorb the nutrition it needs.
Our body’s nervous system also is highly dependent on our nutritional needs as well. Mental wellness and health can be affected by the quality of our diet. Nutritional gaps in our diet may present themselves not only as a physical concern but also become apparent due to an increased rate of anxiety and depression. Our brain consumes roughly 20% of our daily energy production. It is crucial that we feed our brain the proper nutrition it needs to function at its best.