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Who needs nutritional supplements?

Certainly all those of us over a certain age, and in fact I recommend them for pretty much everybody, unless you are eating a really perfect diet based on organic, natural foods as well as living a tranquil, stress-free and truly happy life. Yes, in an ideal world, we would be able to get all the nutrients we need for health from what we eat – but in the 21st century, this has become pretty much impossible. Why? Because our health is under never-ending – and ever-increasing – assault from modern life and taking nutritional supplements offers effective protection from deficiencies. In addition, as we get older, the various systems in the body inevitably begin to slow down and wear out, and damage starts to accumulate at a faster rate.

Pollution is present everywhere. The air we breathe, both indoors and outside, is laden with toxins. Our water supplies are in most cases a chemical cocktail. The fruit and vegetables we eat are sprayed with countless pesticides and herbicides; furthermore, many of them are harvested before they are ripe and therefore before they have developed their full nutrient potential; if they are also flown half way around the world and then stored for several weeks before they reach our plates, they will be even more depleted of all the countless nutrients the human body needs to thrive; and if they are pre-prepared, ie spiralised carrots, shredded cabbage, sliced onions, their nutritional value will be even less. And just to make matters worse, cooking them, particularly at high temperatures and for prolonged periods, increases the nutrient reduction that much more.

What about the average 21st century diet? Just look at the contents of the average supermarket trolley and you will realise what it consists of! Refined, processed foods are the main component – biscuits, cakes, confectionery, pre-packaged “convenience” meals, white rice, white pasta, white bread. Food in bottles, food in jars, food in tins. Sterilised, pasteurised, stripped of its natural nutrients. How much nutritional value is left? How many vitamins, minerals, essential fats and fibre? How much life force?!

Even if you do eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables, the soil they are grown in may not be healthy enough itself to pass on nutrients to the plants grown in it – no selenium in the earth for instance, no selenium in our food. Natural mineral levels in soil are dropping due to modern intensive agricultural methods and this depletion means that the carrots we ate in the 1970s for instance were infinitely richer in nutrients than the carrots we are eating today. The last fifty years have seen falls in countless nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2), Vitamin A and Vitamin C – and that is just for starters!

So to say that the average modern diet is far from perfect is a true understatement. My Dynamic Ageing clients often try to tell me that a little bit of what we like is good for us – but when I start asking questions, I find that “a little bit” is several times a day every day.... Yes, we do all need treats every now and then, and it is important to enjoy them, but we simply cannot live on them or make them the main focus of our everyday diet. It is crucial for life-long health to find a way to redress the current dietary anarchy and provide our bodies with the nutrients they need in order to thrive – and nutritional supplements are a very effective compromise. They are also a safe compromise, so long as they are high quality, taken with due care and in the recommended doses because they are powerful – and certainly if you are taking any prescription medications, speak to your doctor to ensure that there are no contra-indications. It is also important to understand that supplements are NOT magic bullets or a replacement for real, natural, proper food - but they can bring long-term health benefits and stimulate the body’s natural healing processes.

My personal experience from my nutritional and Dynamic Ageing practice is that adding specific supplements to a healthy, natural diet can make a big difference not only to general health, energy and vitality, but particularly when there is a long-standing, well entrenched health challenge. In this case, food alone may simply not have the potency to heal, let alone reverse, any damage which has already been done.

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