Over the last few decades, the number of Americans taking some sort of supplement has increased from 40 to 53 percent but recent studies show that many Americans already get an adequate amount of nutrients, through fortified and whole foods. As the season changes and we leave winter behind, look to incorporate these foods into your diet and eventually leave supplements and vitamins behind.
Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods on the planet and are a rich source of Vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin and helps reduce inflammation through fighting free radical damage. The best part about sweet potatoes, there are tons of recipes to make adding them to your diet simple and easy.
Maybe even simpler and easier than sweet potatoes, which need to be cooked, are bananas. Two medium bananas deliver close to half of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B6 and contains potassium and fiber. Vitamin B6 helps maintain a healthy nervous system and is necessary for key metabolic processes. It goes without saying, it is pretty important.
More important, Vitamin C. Oranges provide your daily amount of Vitamin C and only has 60 calories, while its fiber and water content will keep you full until your next meal. Meaning it is the perfect snack and Vitamin C helps repair and regenerate tissues, protects against disease and aids in the absorption of other nutrients, while helping support a healthy immune system.
Piggybacking off orange, the staple of southern cooking is also high in Vitamin C. Cooked collard greens are low in calories and provide half a day’s worth of Vitamin C, while also providing a quarter of the daily requirement of calcium. Calcium is mineral that is essential part of bones and teeth, while the heart and nervous system need calcium to work properly.
Sure, bones and teeth are important to living but what does every human need to survive? Oxygen. How do we carry oxygen to the body’s tissues? Through hemoglobin in our blood that is mostly made of iron. Oysters are some of the most nutrient dense food on the planet, with a one-cup serving covering more than 100 percent of the daily recommended allowance of iron and 17.5 grams of protein.
Supplements and vitamins are easy, they are convenient and they are all the rage nowadays but are they really necessary? Leave the multi-vitamin in the cupboard over the next few weeks and try to get your nutrients the old fashioned way.