Micro-fuel Your Nutrition with vitamins and minerals
How often are you told that you should get all the vitamins and minerals that you need from a healthy diet? And guess what?
I‘m not suggesting that you can‘t, but the reality is that many of us don‘t get all that we need, all of the time from diet alone.
My philosophy has always been that natural, whole and unprocessed food comes first.
But we need to be realistic and understand that our diets may need a little support if we want peak performance. Good supplementation can help.
Vitamins and minerals act as co-factors for literally thousands of chemical reactions throughout the body.
These reactions do everything from enabling the breakdown of food into energy, through to dictating the ways in which our cells reproduce, express genes and more. Without enough of the ‘little guys‘ of nutrition, nothing much would get done!
I often explain that ‘micronutrients‘ (vitamins and minerals) act like the spark plugs in a car. They don‘t provide the fuel directly, but they enable it to be used, and used efficiently - without them you don‘t go far!
Data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that fresh vegetables, fruits and berries may only provide around half the amount of certain vitamins and minerals when compared to produce grown in the 1950s (1).
This means that we need to eat twice the amount of nutrient-dense food that our parents and grandparents ate - to get the same amount of nutrients. It makes me wonder whether the ‘5+ a day‘ is really going to cut it.
If you‘re not getting enough micronutrients, supplementation could be just the boost you need to improve performance.
Estimates from the New Zealand Ministry of Health ‘NZ Adult Nutrition Survey‘ of 2008/2009 suggest that many New Zealanders are not getting the recommended amounts of many vitamins and minerals from dietary sources (2).
Some key findings included:
- Around 20% of people fail to get sufficient vitamins A (one of our major anti-oxidant vitamins, vital for gene expression, eye health and cell division), B1 and B6 (both essential for energy creation)
- 8% of people fail to get sufficient B12. B12 is required for proper functioning of nerve cells and without adequate B12 people can suffer from a form of anaemia and ultimately a lack of B12 can permanently damage neurons.
- Nearly 10% of women don‘t get enough iron. Iron deficiency results in anaemia, lethargy and loss of muscle strength and endurance.
- Around 25% of people don‘t consume enough zinc. Zinc is extremely important for immune function and for the creation of testosterone. Interestingly, nearly 40% of males may not get adequate zinc from their diet, which could increase risk of colds and flu, and reduce the ability to build muscle.
- 45% of people don‘t get enough Selenium, a mineral lacking in New Zealand soils that is vital to thyroid function and metabolic rate.
Good Green Vitality is designed to provide the vitamin and mineral boost you need and gives you around 95% of average adult daily requirement, helping you to get the right balance of micro-nutrients for peak performance.
(1). Davis, D.R., M.D. Epp, and H.D. Riordan, Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2004. 23(6): p. 669-682.
(2). University of Otago and Ministry of Health., A Focus on Nutrition: Key findings of the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. 2011: Wellington.
The information provided in this article is intended for educational purposes only and is general advice. It should not, nor is it intended to be, relied on as a substitute for individual medical advice or care. If the contents of this, or any other of the blogs in this series raises any concerns or questions regarding your health, please consult a qualified healthcare practitioner.