“If you eat food direct from nature,” Katz added, “you don’t even need to think about this. You don’t have to worry about trans fat or saturated fat or salt—most of our salt comes from processed food, not the salt shaker. If you focus on real food, nutrients tend to take care of themselves.”
Our Better Health
By James Hamblin
Flailing in the swell of bestselling diet books, infomercials for cleanses, and secret tips in glossy magazines, is the credibility of nutrition science. Watching thoroughly-credentialed medical experts tout the addition or subtraction of one nutrient as deliverance—only to change the channel and hear someone equally-thoroughly-credentialed touting the opposite—it can be tempting to write off nutrition advice altogether. This month we hear something is good, and next we almost expect to hear it’s bad. Why not assume the latest research will all eventually be nullified, and just close our eyes and eat whatever tastes best?
That notion is at once relatable and tragic, in that diet is inextricable from the amount of healthy time we spend on Earth. Improvements in diet are clearly associated with significant lengthening of lifespan and dramatic decreases in risk of most chronic diseases. Combining disease and longevity into the concept of healthspan, the…
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I eat healthy and read lots of articles on healthy eating. I also take supplements to ‘fill the blanks’ on any nutrients I might be missing. So when WebMD offered a quiz on Fish Oil and Omega 3s, I considered it right up my alley. I actually take a Krill Oil supplement to augment my Omega 3s.
You can take WebMD’s quiz here. Despite my general reading and actions, I scored only four out of 10 correct.
I wish you luck. Here is the first question: Taking fish oil supplements is as good for you as eating fish. True or False?
Spoiler alert! The answer is “False. Fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and fish oil capsules all have heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
“But adding fish to your diet carries healthy bonuses that you won’t get from a supplement: calcium and vitamins B2 and D. It’s also an excellent source of protein.
“So try to eat fish more often. Have it two times a week instead of meat.
“If you have heart problems, though, you may need to boost your omega-3s with a supplement. Talk to your doctor.”
I wanted to share this first answer with you because it demonstrates a wider point, namely, it is usually better to get your nutrients from whole foods rather than pills. Maybe that’s why the pills are called ‘supplements’ because they are meant to supplement our needs not fulfill them.
I hope you did better than I did on the test. If not, at least you, like me, got a mini education in fish oil and omega 3 facts. It’s all good.
This almost seems like an age old question to me. Supplements supply all those hundreds and thousands of milligrams of nutrients. Surely they have more food value than plain-old whole foods.
You can get much more than your entire daily requirement of vitamin C by
just popping a pill. On the other hand, you can get your daily requirement by eating a large orange. So which is better? in most cases, the orange, says the Mayo Clinic in its publication Your Guide To Vitamin & Mineral Supplements.
“Whole foods — such as fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products — have three main benefits you can’t get in a pill:
• Whole foods are complex. They contain a variety of the
nutrients your body needs — not just one. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C as well as beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. Vitamin C supplements
lack these other nutrients. Similarly, a glass of milk provides you with protein, vitamin D, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. If you take only calcium supplements and skip calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, you may miss all the other nutrients you need for healthy bones.
• Whole foods provide dietary fiber. Fiber is important for digestion, and it helps prevent certain diseases. Soluble fiber (found in beans, some grains, and some fruits and vegetables) and insoluble fiber (found in whole grains and some fruits and vegetables) may help prevent heart disease, diabetes and constipation.