Ask Marilyn: Do we really need to take supplements every day?

Q: Do we really need to take supplements every day?

A: A healthy diet is always the basis for good health, but because nowadays it is not easy to get all the health boosting nutrients you need from your diet, taking supplements may be extremely beneficial.

With the dominance of supermarket shopping, there’s no way of knowing the freshness or nutritional content of our food. Even if you eat all the right foods modern agricultural and production processes remove much of the nutritional value.

For example, almost 80 per cent of zinc is removed from wheat during the milling process to ensure that bread has a longer shelf life. Part of the problem is that the soil food is grown on today is so lacking in nutrients due to overuse and commercial farming methods, so that even foods we regard as healthy, like vegetables, may not contain the nutrients you expect.

According to joint research by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, between 1940 and 1990 vegetables lost 76% of their copper content, 24% of their magnesium and 27% of their iron quotient. From the vitamin point of view, it may be so long since an orange was picked that by the time you eat it has lost most of the vitamin C you bought it for in the first place. 

A recent a Which Magazine report found that one pack of sliced green beans contained only 11% of the vitamin C it should have done. It’s clear that many of us are simply not getting all the nutrients we need to ensure optimum health and fertility from our food. This was confirmed by a National Diet and Nutritional survey published in 2003 which looked at adults aged 19-64 showed that only 15% of women and 13% of men actually ate the five-a- day target for fruit and vegetables.

With vitamins and minerals, 74% of women failed to achieve the Reference Nutrient Intake In an ideal world a healthy diet would provide all the nutrients we need but we don’t live in an ideal world and I do suggest that you take a good quality daily multi vitamin and mineral as an insurance policy instead of high doses of individual nutrients and take one appropriate for your age. So if you over the age of 45 take one designed for leading up to the menopause, through it and beyond (like MenoPlus) or if you are aiming to get pregnant take Fertility Plus for Women.

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