Once Upon A Vitamin

Now we know. The legendary, health-boosting powers of vitamin and mineral supplements are indeed the stuff of myth. A recent editorial in the Annals of American Medicine plainly states:  “We believe that the case is closed—supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful.”

On a magical quest to live longer, be healthier, stronger, prettier, more powerful, younger, smarter, sexier, Americans spend $28 billion each year on a dizzying alphabet of multivitamins and supplements. Inhale a fistful of vitamins, the wishful thinking goes, and we’re ready to reverse signs of aging, conquer free radicals, fortify brittle bones and fend off disease. Instant health! Instant transformation!

Our quest for transformation is nothing new. We humans are ever searching for the Shangri-La, a never never land where we never age or fall ill. In the 19th century, Americans in need of vitality, restoration and longevity sought rejuvenation from a fantastical pharmacopeia of herbal tonics, patent medicines, snake oils, balms, extracts, salves, syrups and compounds sold by travelling medicine shows and apothecaries. Naturally enough, the unregulated, often dangerous concoctions were touted for their “natural” ingredients.

Ironically enough, vitamin takers, health-conscious types with balanced diets, are the very people least likely to benefit from supplements; they actually put themselves at risk. Researchers find that dosing on vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, or selenium increases risk of premature death from the very diseases the compounds are supposed to prevent. And, if you belong to the 53% of Americans who take a daily supplement, you risk ingesting formulas that are mislabeled or tainted with lead, arsenic, fungi or steroids, produced by a lightly regulated industry.

There is a natural, simple and proven way to get your required nutrition. It’s called eating food, real food, not to be confused with hyped “food products” artificially fortified with vitamins and minerals that can unbalance your diet.

A balanced diet provides you with a full complement of real vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—rather than the supplement’s featured nutrient. In real food, nutrients are naturally balanced, and easily digested, absorbed, and metabolized. And authentic food affords taste and pleasure that no genies in vitamin bottles will ever supply.

And the very best source for the safest, freshest food, loaded with vitamins and minerals? Your own home garden. A backyard vegetable and fruit patch will supply your family with a bounty of health-giving food loaded with flavor and nutrition. You’ll save money by skipping supplements, and will save a fortune as your home-grown fresh produce will cost a fraction of what you’d pay at the supermarket.

As for transformation, the garden is the place for you. Here you can experience the original miracle: metamorphosis of seed into plant, plant into food, and food into health-giving energy ready to power you and your family. And by transforming yourself and your family into gardeners, you connect, not just to the ultimate source of the freshest, tastiest food, but to the earth, the seasons and the sun, which happens to be the great natural source of vitamin D.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014 at 11:56 am and is filed under Original Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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