Most of my health education was self-education and it started when I was a teenager. I have always enjoyed reading about health, especially vitamins & minerals and their impact on our health, which prompted my latest qualification as a Nutritional Therapist and why it felt so right, in the first place, to become a Herbalife Nutrition health coach nearly 15 years ago now. Because I understood the science already, I was open-minded to test the products and see the difference they possibly made. The rest is history.
Even as a teenager I used to make smoothies with any edible plant that was available in and around the house, together with fresh raw eggs from a local lady and soya milk I would drive for hours on my bike until I found one store that stocked it. Some teenagers smoked, I did this.
My mother, as you may already know if you read any of my previous stuff, is a breast cancer survivor and first thing she changed when she was diagnosed and then after she was given all clear – was to change her diet. I was not even 10 years old by then. Jars of fermented foods were common in our fridge, then hundreds of quail eggs that she drank raw, not to mention daily grating and soaking and you name it. God forbid I forgot to take my daily Omega 3 and Vitamin & Mineral supplement. That stuff was standard in our household, on top of fresh cooking every single day and buying fresh produce from the local market.
So, I was taught nutrition from an early age as a “way of life” and it stayed with me. Thirty years later, now that we have knowledge available to us at a touch of a screen, so I must admit that I find it difficult to understand how only 25% of the people seem to care about nutrition when considering their next meal, as the latest research points out. It surprises me also when I come across some giving quality supplements a bad rep, although many would happily take prescription pills from their doctor any time or even self-medicate.
That is why I can not ignore the knowledge and passion about nutrition I have and a genuine desire to educate about nutrition & healthy living. I believe nutrition alone can make a massive impact in the energy we bring to the world, the way we feel about ourselves, the way we age, protect ourselves from the disease and much more.
I believe healthy mind can only exist in a healthy body.
Let’s see what are vitamins and minerals exactly and why are they important?
While they may sound small and unimportant as they are micronutrients – meaning they are compounds that body needs in smaller amounts than it needs the macronutrients – protein, carbohydrate, and fat – Vitamins and minerals are actually essential and vital to our health and it is vitally important that we meet micronutrients needs every day as they influence the following:
- Immune System: They help build up our immunity as heart disease, cancer and other illnesses and ailments are created due to deficiencies based on what we eat or don’t eat.
- Energy Levels: Optimum consumption of vitamins and minerals will increase our energy levels and vitamins and minerals are involved in the release of energy from digested foods. Strong and long-lasting energy levels are pretty good indicators of a healthy nutrition.
- Appearance: Vitamins and Minerals influence the appearance of our skin, tone, elasticity, hair strength, thickness and colour, fingernail strength, colour and texture, etc. Have you ever came across someone who looks 50 at 30 or someone who actually looks 30 at 50? There are many factors that could affect it, but our diet plays a huge part in all that.
- Intelligence: Brain function, ability to concentrate and memory are boosted by proper vitamin and mineral intake too.
How our body uses vitamins and minerals can be demonstrated on a practical level:
- They are used by the body as it performs all its functions from thinking to blinking and every other function our bodies perform
- When disease is present: they often use themselves up in the process
To be clear – the state of our immunity, energy, appearance and intelligence, all of them are a result of many factors, vitamins and minerals are just some of them, but they still play a big part in an even bigger puzzle, and our health depends on replenishing vitamins and minerals throughout the day!
How we make sure we get them in our diet?
Natural produce naturally contains them… dairy, meat, grains, nuts to fruits and vegetables that have them in largest amounts.
Organically grown local produce will have more antioxidants than non-organic alternatives that have travelled for miles, even across different countries or continents.
And, in an ideal world, we should be able to obtain all our micronutrient needs from food.
However, with today’s hectic lifestyle, most of us struggle to get a balanced diet which provides us with all the vitamins and minerals we need.
We choose foods that are unhealthy and contain just empty calories and another problem is our food supply, production and preparation even…
- In a large USA 26 000 people study it was concluded that not one single person received the nutritional requirements set by the RDA.
- Recent smaller nutrition study of 20 people and their individual diets concluded that both men and women that were part of the study ate approximately enough calories for daily energy, however, the nutrition they all considered adequate did not achieve MINIMUM levels, let alone optimal levels and all of their diets were deficient in both vitamins and minerals.
- Latest UK study in 2018 of 3,238 adults aged 20 to 59, looked at deficiencies in vitamins and minerals by age group and gender and concluded that the 20- to 29-year-old group (of both men and women) had the highest rates of potential deficiencies of potassium, zinc and calcium. Across all age groups, men were at high risk of selenium, magnesium and vitamin A deficiency, and particularly high numbers of women were at risk of iron, selenium and potassium deficiency. People aged 40 to 49 were the most likely to be deficient in selenium. Across all age groups and both genders some were at risk of vitamin C, vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies. More than 10% of men were at risk of vitamin A deficiency, as were 20 to 29 year olds generally. More than 10% of women were at risk of riboflavin deficiency, as were 20 to 29 year olds generally… This piece of research did nothing to evaluate specific diets, instead, it simply found that some deficiencies were more common in particular groups.
Let me give you some examples why that may be:
- Decades of agriculture have overworked and depleted soils of minerals and if the soil is depleted – so will be the fruits and vegetables.
- Eating too much or too quickly and stress can cause indigestion, which, in turn, reduces absorption of vitamins and minerals.
- Over-cooking can easily destroy valuable food nutrients.
- Microwave cooking easily alter the nutritional structure and value of food
- Length of storage and freezing deplete the nutritional value of most foods.
- Eating a too limited range of different food groups will result in nutrient deficiency.
- Allergies to foods, crash dieting and poorly designed vegan & vegetarian diets omit significant dietary sources of nutrients.
- Herbicides and pesticides are used on crops, leaving them with low nutritional value.
- Antibiotics can interfere with the intake of essential nutrients.
- Smoking, alcohol and caffeine can inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals or accelerate the loss of nutrients.
- Stress, be it physical or emotional, can increase body’s requirement of vitamins and minerals.
- Diuretics (alcohol, drugs, coffee, tea, sodas) wash away vitamins and minerals out of the body causing deficiencies, which can cause major health problem!
- Exercise uses a lot of vitamins and minerals that is why when we exercise, our nutritional needs are even higher. Nutrition studies also concluded that the more active the person – the greater the risk of nutritional deficiency.
- Modern life does not always allow us to have time to prepare all 4-6 daily meals from fresh.
From all of the above factors effecting the nutrient density of our food, soil depletion is probably the worst and where everything starts. Mineral & vitamin depletion of our foods has been now well documented and confirmed by World Health Organisation, UNICEF, UK Ministry of Agriculture as well as Royal Society of Chemistry and is a global problem with loss in nutrients in the soil compared to 60 years ago: 72% in Europe, 55% in Australia, 74% in Africa, 76% in Asia and South America and 85% loss in North America.
To put it into perspective, we now need to eat 5-10 apples to get the same Vitamin C content that only one apple used to have in 1940s, after The Second World War! It is because of the simple fact that – if soil is deficient – so will be our plants and, therefore, our bodies too.
The level of each mineral and vitamin in the body has an effect on others, so, if one is missing or out of balance, all will be affected. All combined in the right balance work in synergy with one another.
The truth is – how you look and feel for the last 20 to 50 years of your life will depend on your lifestyle and that, in a very large part depends on your nutritional intake, especially your vitamin and mineral intake throughout your life…
According to the research in the US alone, 96% of Americans die of disease attributed to NOT getting proper nutrition. This figure will be close to the majority of the Western countries, UK especially: malnutrition cost to the UK economy is estimated at £19.6 billion each year (2011-2012 figures).
World Health Organisation has already made it clear that 75% of the diseases in the Western world stem from the lack of nutrition: what that means is that 7-8 people out of 10 at doctor’s surgeries are there because they are not eating properly or their bodies are not getting enough nutrition. Can you imagine that? 7 out of 10. Don’t you think this is a way better way to save the NHS money!
The fact remains – we are NOT getting everything our bodies were designed to get on a daily basis.
So, we must take better care of ourselves, the power is in our hands if we want the chance to live longer, healthier lifestyles and achieve healthy older age.
Lack of proper nutrition is the exact reason why we age, get disease, get sick!
So, how do we make sure we change that and get enough micronutrients in our diet?
Well, we must eat well, in the right balance, of the fresh produce such as vegetables and fruits, dairy, even meat if you are not a vegetarian. If you are, you must also get enough of protein in your diet through plant sources in the right combination so that body gets all the amino acids required for muscle-building and maintenance.
I also personally believe in investing in our health by also making sure that each and every 114 trillion of our cells gets daily nutrition through quality supplements, in case our diet is not giving us enough (and above statistics are saying that it probably is not).
Supplements are NOT a substitute for a bad diet, but all the above mentioned are reasons why there is an increasing belief in the medical and nutrition industry that vitamin and mineral supplementation is absolutely necessary, even if you make healthy choices most of the time, as a form of a health insurance. I also believe in quality supplements only as you really get what you pay for when it comes to supplements.
Those who might definitely benefit from supplementing are those who:
- Eat an unbalanced diet
- Are over the age of 60
- Woman of a childbearing years
- Pre-menopausal woman
- Vegans & Vegetarians
- Are on a low-calorie diet
- Are smokers
- Get lots of sun exposure
- Are stressed
- Trying to build more muscle
Of course, supplements are just as good as their ability to be absorbed by the body that is why you should invest in quality and not high street or online cheap brands. Supplements are a different topic all together, please do feel free to reach out if you would like help in this area.
What I really hope you will get out of this is that your health, energy, ageing, skin, even intelligence, does depend on the health of your cells and proper, balanced nutrition. So, if you are one of those 75% who does not look at nutrition when making food choices, hope you will be from now. And it is equaly important to stay away from low quality/ low nutrient foods that do not contribute to your wellness.
I hope this was interesting and of a value to you. If it was, please share, it might be to others too. Thank you.
If you would like help with your nutrition or weight management or energy levels, please do reach out, I would love to help.
Our Nutrition Philosophy believes in Optimised Nutrition achieved through regular healthy foods in the right balance AND our Herbalife Nutrition supplements, so body can get everything it needs every single day!
Feel free to browse further through the site and even fill in a Free Online Wellness Test and find out how well your own diet is balanced and how well you score – it is a great first step to raising an awareness where you might be falling short!
I believe that health is our greatest wealth, health is happiness, so wishing you to be healthy and happy, always!
Thank you so much for your time!