Eating Nutrients vs. Eating Healthily
Updated: Apr 26, 2020
There's been a lot of research regarding nutritional supplementation vs. gleaning the nutrients we need from the foods we consume. The vast majority of us are likely sub-clinically deficient in a few vitamins (at least), so our focus should be on balancing our bodies' nutrient needs. There is NOT a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to a vitamin deficiency, and new studies have indicated that many nutrients work synergistically for optimal health. The combination of several nutrients, such as omega-3s, B vitamins, as well as Vitamin C and E can help with mental clarity, memory, cognitive function, and cellular health. Conversely, when processed and refined foods are eaten in concert with trans fat, sugar, and simple carbs, we experience cognitive impairment and cellular aging. I emphasize the typical Western diet is teeming with pro-inflammatory foods that truly speed up our brain aging.
Once we realize where we are deficient, it's best to obtain these nutrients from the foods we eat. As the name suggests, supplementations should be used for just that: to supplement and IMPROVE our diet. Many people use supplements as a shortcut and a way to bypass eating a greater variety of nutrient dense foods. As the world of nutrition continues to evolve, there is a growing body of evidence proving that supplements alone will not deliver optimal results. Our bodies are full of signals and detectors that favor nutrients working as a team. As I mentioned before, nutrient synergy allows our bodies to reap the maximum benefit. Our bodies are in constant communication with our cells, and food is the information that directs the longevity of our health.
Let's take the example of a lemon vs. a Vitamin C supplement. Unlike the tablet, the lemon will contain the citric acid, phytonutrients, and potassium/iron that will ALL interact with one another within your brain and body. The Vitamin C supplement does not contain all of the minerals and additional vitamins that a lemon provides, thus you are getting a fraction of the benefits to your body.
So why so important? These vitamins and minerals are essential building blocks for our neurotransmitters and brain cells. When your nutritional biochemistry is imbalanced, you're at a greater risk of some unpleasant symptoms (e.g. brain fog, fatigue, stress, higher anxiety levels, lower mood, and an inability to focus). We want our mental stamina and brain longevity to be healthy, and this can be accomplished through brain healthy minerals and antioxidants.