A person who doesn’t require vitamins is a rare find. Our food production methods (over farming, use of pesticides) coupled with the burgeoning of the fast food industry and poor cooking methods (over cooking, deep-frying) play a key role in depriving our bodies of important nutrients. When nutrient deficiencies interact with high levels of stress and little or no exercise, they result in lifestyle diseases like type II Diabetes, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure etc. It is clear from the growing incidence of lifestyle diseases that the food that we eat today does not provide us with optimum nutrients required to maintain a positive state of health. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide adequate nutrients if they are picked when ripe and eaten immediately. Today that is not possible as they are picked before they are ripe and then treated with chemicals to `appear’ ripe but do not have the nutritional value of ripe vegetables. These `fresh’ fruits and vegetables lose further nutrients as they travel from the farm to your kitchen.
Once in the kitchen, we overcook, deep fry, mishmash our food and even reheat the left overs thus creating nutritional disasters. Such food has not more than 25% nutrient value left in it. Therefore we cannot think of getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals only through food. Micronutrient deficiencies over a period of time reflect in terms of falling hair, lack lustre skin, weight gain, uncontrollable hunger, sugar cravings, low energy levels, mood swings, skin rash etc.
The polishing of rice into `polished white rice’ and the refining of wheat into `maida’ has threatened our body into multinutrient deficiencies. Such food not only fails to nourish us, but also robs us of other nutrients in order to get metabolized, creating a shortage of chromium, B-complex, magnesium, zinc in the body. As we age, our capacity to assimilate nutrients decreases due to inadequate hydrochloric acid. Frequent intake of antibiotics upset the intestinal flora creating a shortage of beneficial bacteria.
Many people don’t like taking vitamin and mineral supplements, as they want to get everything from the diet. I truly wish this was possible, but this route just doesn’t work in this modern world. Today we are exposed to more environmental pollutants than ever before. Cigarette smoke, smog, chemicals in our drinking water, increased alcohol intake etc. This causes more free radical generation in our body and our food does not give us enough antioxidants to defend ourselves against these toxins. Therefore the need to take vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants.
How to get adequate antioxidants into your body?: The best way to get your antioxidants is to drink freshly prepared vegetable juices from:
- Organic wheat grass
- Barley grass
- Spinach + mint + coriander Juice
- Pomegranate + cucumber + Tomato Juice
- Tomato + Carrot + Beetroot Juice etc.,
as your primary source of antioxidants and also take supplements containing vitamin A, C, E and selenium. Choose fresh fruits over canned juices. Avoid boiling or overcooking your vegetables. You must steam, stir-fry, lightly cook or eat them raw. Consume Omega – 3 supplements as they reduce the damage caused by pollutants. These fats are found in the alsi seeds, fish, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. Avoid cooking in oils that go rancid easily. PUFA based oils derived from sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, cottonseed, and corn get rancid easily and should be avoided. Mustered oil, Til Oil and Olive oil are richest in MUFA and doesn’t go rancid easily.
Antioxidants help to rev up your immunity and decrease your chances of falling prey to disease. Those who exercise regularly also need to take supplements of antioxidants as exercise generates more free radicals.
All this business of living in today’s modern, toxic world creates the need for supplementation. Without optimum food intake we cannot expect to live a healthy life. The key to keeping fit in today’s world is to back up your body’s own defence system by taking your vitamin supplements, along with health promoting lifestyle changes.
ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total, having health centres in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Nashik, Indore-treats obesity & other health related disorders.
Contact numbers: 1800 266 0607 / 022-672 66888
For further information, visit www.health-total.com