Even though you are eating more fruit and vegetables, do you need to take daily supplements to ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals?

Have you seen scary headlines that claim the fruit and vegetables we are eating lack the essential vitamins and minerals we need?

I certainly have.

And the same reports usually tell us to take supplements to ensure we are getting enough.

I am a trained nutritional adviser, and I don’t take supplements – why not? Let me explain.

Often when reading these articles, you are encouraged to take a green, red or purple pills or powders every day. Unfortunately, when you read further you find that  the research and writing is funded by the recommended supplement company.

So, is this the truth or just a way to get you to spend money on whichever supplements the author is flogging?

According to research by the Journal of Food Composition, modern varieties often contain higher levels that older varieties.  Whilst there is agreement that soil depletion has occurred due to intensive over-farming.  The overall picture is that vegetables and fruits still give us a good level of vitamins and minerals.

But again this is not the full picture, and further research suggests that the most significant differences in nutrient content is between that of artificially ripened fruits and vegetables, and those that are ripened naturally.

Is the answer to spend money on expensive supplements?  I suggest not, and would encourage you to make the following changes to your buying and eating habits, and invest your money in your food rather than supplementation.

Locally grown vegetables

LOCALLY GROWN – most supermarkets tell you the origin of the fruits and vegetables they are selling so just check the label on the food or the shelf.  If food has been grown locally then it is more likely to have been allowed to fully ripen before picking and therefore had the opportunity to reach optimal nutritional levels.

SEASONAL – ever eaten a strawberry in December and found it bland and disappointing?  The sunshine, rainfall and soil all contribute to the taste so if it is picked before it’s ripe then it doesn’t get time to develop the best taste.  The simple solution is to eat as seasonally as you can.  You don’t have to be a walking encyclopaedia there are some great websites that can help you with this such as Eat Seasonably

Support local farm shops

SHOP LOCAL – what better way to support your local high street or even farm shop.  Why not visit your local farm shop this weekend, it’s a great way to understand what is grown near you.  It may be slightly more expensive, but the bonus is that you can buy exactly what you need, think 3 apples rather than pre-packed bags of 4 or 6.

VARIETY – broccoli may well be good for you, but I don’t want you to just eat broccoli.  The best way to get the full range of nutrients is to eat a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables.  This will also help soil health as the farmers can rotate crops and ensure the soil is in optimal condition. So why not take a look at what’s available and try something new this weekend?

I am a trained nutritional adviser that is passionate about helping people eat for energy and vitality and to ditch the boring restrictive diets.  As part of my membership site I offer lots of advice, plus seasonal recipes to keep you interested and motivated.  To find out more visit www.ditch-the-diet.co.uk

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