24 Jun 10 Nutritional Agreements: Part 3
The how to’s on supplementation
We are another week into our series about nutrition truths and we hope you are tracking with us and learning at least one new fact or tidbit. Here is a quick recap of what we have shared thus far:
- There is no one-size-fits-all diet.
- “Diets” don’t work.
- Vegetables are all-stars.
- Added sugar does more harm and no good to our body.
- Unrefined has its place when it comes to carbohydrates.
This week, we have three more nutrition facts that are widely accepted.
- Striving to include omega-3 fats in your diet is important. We know that omega-3 fats are an essential fat that our bodies do not make, so we must get them from food sources. Unfortunately, many of us don’t get as much of them as we need for health benefits. Food sources include fish, vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables. But why must we include them in our diet? Well, the three main omega-3s are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Harvard Health tells us that these complicated sounding fats “have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.”
- We really need the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency is no joke. Unfortunately, it is all too common to be low in levels of the D vitamin, but unlike other vitamins, D functions as a hormone in the body which makes it extra special. Harvard Health shares:
It is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone. Also, laboratory studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation. Many of the body’s organs and tissues have receptors for vitamin D, which suggest important roles beyond bone health, and scientists are actively investigating other possible functions. Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D3. The best sources are the flesh of fatty fish and fish liver oils. Smaller amounts are found in egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver.
Talk with your primary care provider to find out if supplementation with vitamin D3 would be a great idea for your overall health.
- Supplements are nice, but not everything. Remember that time I mentioned taking a vitamin D supplement was a good thing. It is. It’s an exception to this rule because the amount of vitamin D in food sources is limited and while a certain level of sun exposure is amazing, it’s not always available and absorbed well by everyone. With that said, the supplement industry makes unreal amounts of money and the regulation of their claims and production is not tight. So while taking supplements can be safe if taken thoughtfully, our diet (the food and drink) we consume always matters more than the supplements we take. Whole foods provide real and impactful nutrition for our body. Supplements may fill in small nutritional gaps from our diet or target certain health goals we have, but remember “may” is the key word there.
By Victoria Emmitt RD