Strategic use of supplements and fortified foods, along with fresh foods, for complete nutrition
If only our lifestyles never failed to give us opportunities to prepare and eat the variety of foods we need to provide our bodies with complete nutrition. If only aging didn’t throw new nutritional challenges at us every few years. If only everyone lived in a region where the availability of nutrient-rich foods were consistent. If only.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world. We live in a different reality. The good news is that we have extensive knowledge about nutritional science and we have the ability to enrich foods and beverages (and produce supplements) to help us address nutrient deficiencies.
Earlier this week, The Washington Post published an article in its online Lifestyle section about supplements, over which there is debate. In Dietary supplements: Do we need them, or can we get all our nutrients from food? columnist Jennifer LaRue Huget writes, “The latest federal data show that more than half of U.S. adults use dietary supplements, mostly multivitamins. But do we really need all those pills?” As Jennifer points out, it depends who you ask.
Some people insist good nutrition only comes from fresh foods. And we understand. Having fortified food options and dietary supplements available to us doesn’t mean we can behave badly. There’s no free pass to eat whatever we want, go without sleep or neglect exercise. We have to learn to be honest with ourselves: Are we doing the best we can? When the answer is no, it often means we have to modify our behavior.
But sometimes it means we just need an extra boost from our arsenal: products we know and trust. Fortified foods and beverages, along with supplements, can be part of a conscious strategy to give our bodies the nutrition they need – to bridge the gap between perfect conditions and the reality of everyday.
It would be ideal if we all had what we need when we need it and in the proper amount. It would be ideal if we never indulged. It would be ideal if we never had to skip a meal. When the day doesn’t live up to the ideal, it’s smart to remain conscious of we missed out on nutritionally and make up for it if we can.