A question many people ask, to which in the perfect World, the answer is probably no.
As a Race we have existed for many thousands of years without them. However, it is obvious that as our diets have improved and a wider variety of foods have been internationally available, we live longer, are taller and are generally fitter. Medical advancements, education, nutritional knowledge, and lifestyle fitness routines have also all contributed to this improvement.
However, whilst we are much more aware of what we should eat, a number of factors conspire to make this ‘awareness’ hard to convert into reality. It requires both knowledge and commitment to achieve the perfect diet. We lead much busier lives than ever, and work, family and social commitments eat into our time. Also, the availability of convenience foods in supermarkets and fast-food outlets, that offer cheap alternatives to cooking, make our choices more difficult.
Add to that the effects of over farming of crops and livestock, together with the overfishing of our oceans, has meant that the nutritional value of many of our staple dietary products has declined, whilst at the same time affecting our climate and introducing chemicals and pesticides into our food system.
There is no doubt that a well-balanced, colourful, and varied ‘Mediterranean’ style diet is the right answer for us whether vegan, vegetarian or as an omnivore.
Where this is not always possible for us to achieve, Supplements can play a significant role. Our requirements can also depend on where we live. For specific Vitamins such as D, we are dependent on exposure to sunlight, not always possible in more northerly climes.
It seems the Medical world also recognises the benefits of Supplements! Having recently suffered a badly broken hip in a freak accident, I spent a few weeks in hospital, followed by some wheelchair time, and was impressed by the fact that 3 different Vitamin Supplements were prescribed as part of the ‘healing’ process in the form of A, D3 and Iron.
Supplements, as the name suggests, are there to ‘supplement’ an existing healthy diet and certainly not as a substitute for one. But for many they are a necessary and important addition to their diet. Always read about the actual benefits of the Supplements that you choose, give regard to the daily required intake, see where they are derived from, and check how absorbable they are.