Fresh food is loaded with nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A and C, which are essential for maintaining good health. Though nothing compares nutrients from food, supplements do plug dietary gaps sometimes.
Modern agricultural practices can deplete the soil of essential nutrients. When plants are repeatedly grown on the same land, the soil loses vitamins, minerals, and microbes faster than they can be replaced. Over time, the plants have fewer nutrients to grow. In addition, we rarely eat vegetables and fruits that are harvested fresh because of the lack of accessibilty. In effect, the nutrient content of the fruits and vegetables we eat reduces when they sit on trucks, shelves, and counters for weeks before being eaten.
Soil depletion also affects the nutritional quality of the meat we consume because when plants contain fewer nutrients, the animals that eat these plants also become malnourished. The grain-fed meat that we usually eat is also abysmally low in antioxidants, micronutrients, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.
As people get older, the ability to absorb nutrients from food decreases. This means that older adults may need to take supplement that provides nutrients in the most absorbable form possible.
However, taking too much of supplements can be harmful. The energy needs of each individual is different. You can get too much of a particular nutrient without realising it. For example, extra vitamin A supplements can suppress bone-building activity and interferes with vitamin D’s role in calcium absorption and regulation, which eventually increases the risk of hip fracture.
After all, supplements cannot replace food. If you do want to take supplements, look for multivitamins that contains vitamin D and B, especially folate, iron, magnesium, and calcium. Be a smart consumer, always go for a well-known brand that has been around for a long time and is likely well tested.
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