LORI NEdescu,

MS RD CSSD

@hungryforresults

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Board certified sports dietitian, pro athlete, freelance nutrition writer, published author, social content developer & personal chef.

When Food Isn't Enough

When Food Isn't Enough

As a dietitian who loves to preach whole foods… it pains me to say, sometimes that just isn’t enough…

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Getting the nutrients your body needs can be a struggle. Ideally, it would be as simple and straightforward as eating three balanced meals a day, but that strategy only works for the lucky few. There’s only so many nutrients one can pack into a single meal and few of us eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Even if you do pile on the produce, each type carries such a diverse composition of nutrients so you really need to eat a large variety to cover all your bases. Another complicating factor is that your body is not likely to get even close to the vitamins and minerals listed on the ‘label’. That nutrient dense produce starts off great, sure, but after being harvested, traveling, chopped, cooked, stored before consumption means the nutrient composition is constantly declining. For example, American produce spends up to 5 days in transit and another 3 days on the grocery store shelf before making its way into your household. Spinach can lose 50% of its folate just 24 hours after being harvested and fresh cantaloupe loses 25% of its Vitamin C after just 6 days in the fridge. If you’re eating out frequently, you might be even more at risk for nutrient depleted foods; on average, mass cooked produce is 60% less nutrient rich than the original version. The fibrous compounds in these plant foods also make it hard for your body to break down and release nutrients for absorption. Compounds such as oxalic acid, present in many vegetables, bind to nutrients making it difficult for the body to absorb them. This is the case with spinach which has a high iron content, but also a high oxalic acid content, and some research has indicated only 2% of the iron from spinach is bioavailable to the body. While fruits and vegetables are prized for their vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content, statistics like this make it seem impossible to get your nutrition from real foods. Under typical circumstances of buying food at the market, cooking it, or dining out, the nutrients left for your body to benefit from are a far cry from the original ‘nutrition facts’ breakdown. This shouldn’t put you off from eating several servings a day. The best way to attempt to meet your needs is definitely through a whole food, high quality and balanced diet. To get the most nutrients out of your food, aim to buy locally, minimize prep and cooking, consume food quickly from its purchase date, and consume a large variety of ingredients. Of course, if you’re busy, dining out a lot, having gastric distress (which can indicate malabsorption), involved in heavy athletic training, or in a stage of life that has higher nutritional needs, even the best diet might fall short. Adding a multivitamin is a good way to cover your bases and make sure you are getting what you need, even if you are already consuming a healthful diet. These supplements are not something to rely on or become a substitute for eating your greens, but they definitely help supply a foundation that isn’t otherwise available to your body. I suggest choosing a vitamin that goes beyond offering mega values of nutrients, again, these are meant to supplement, not be 100% of your needs. For example, Swisse’s Ultivite multivitamin has additional health compounds that can be beneficial, such as grape seed, ginkgo, and ginger. With botanical ingredients like these, this multivitamin goes beyond filling nutritional gaps to provide added benefits like helping to improve mood, promote healthy digestion and support the immune system. Swisse offers both a Men’s and Women’s Ultivite, which provide great options as men and women have different daily needs for several nutrients.

Fall Food Edit

Fall Food Edit

Shaved Raw Autumn Salad

Shaved Raw Autumn Salad

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