It happened again the other day…..another new patient coming in with lots of health problems. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have when visiting a Natural Health Practitioner, is that they will only get one or two “medicines”. The other misconception is that they might only need them for a month or two to “get over” whatever serious symptoms they have that brought them to my door.
First of all, generally by the time someone is sitting in front of me, they have allowed their body to get to such a state that they are now having uncomfortable symptoms. Generally, this has taken years to get to this point. It’s important you understand it’s going to take many months, if not years, to get you out of it.
Natural and herbal supplements can restore the body to a place of balance. But it’s probably going to take more than one thing; or even two. Generally, it might take between 5-10 supplements to help restore your health. And if there is a “serious” health issue on the table, it will take much more than that.
But for this article, I want to talk about why we need to take supplements at all. Most people that aren’t in some sort of health crisis, wonder why they need to take a supplement. Here’s a list of the reasons why it is important that everyone take some sort of natural, whole-food supplement:
1. Depleted Soils. Even if you eat a healthy, predominantly plant-based diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, chances are good (unless you’re consuming everything Organic) that the food is coming from soils that have insufficient mineral content. When foods are grown over and over again in the same soils, the mineral content of that soil will become depleted over time. This is yet ANOTHER reason why it is vitally important to consume Organic foods as much as possible. Organic farming practices include “crop rotating” so that soil depletion does not occur.
2. Long Transit Time for Delivery. Have you noticed in the grocery store that more and more produce is coming in from other countries? If you think your favorite Mango or Pineapple (from Hawaii or the Phillippines) was just cut at its peak ripeness and then immediately put into a box, rushed to the airport and then overnighted to your favorite grocery store, you’re mistaken. Sometimes, foods are picked weeks or even MONTHS before we see it on our shelves. So much for obtaining the maximum amount of nutrition!
3. Overcooking Our Foods. We have a habit of cooking our food “to death” in this country. This results in massive loss of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. When we cook our food so much, we do not obtain the nutritional value from it. Of course, over time, this will result in lots of different health problems. Cooking does “kill” the food, resulting in lost nutrition. As far as fruits and vegetables are concerned, consuming them in as close to raw (uncooked) state as possible, is always the best way.
4. Not Eating Regular Meals. So many people skip meals. Grabbing a bagel or donut while slamming down some coffee and rushing to work, does NOT constitute a meal. Making up for it later in the day at an “all-you-can-eat” buffet is not in the best interest of our body! This puts much undue stress on your digestion system and will eventually cause a lot of uncomfortable symptoms.
5. Normal Aging = Digestion Issues. As we age, our body produces less enzymes that are needed to properly digest and assimilate the foods we eat. Eventually, this will result in “stomach” complaints; i.e., reflux, heartburn, upset stomach, chronic constipation, etc.
Taking good-quality, whole-food based natural supplements can go along way towards helping you maintain a better level of health. Particularly if you’ve got some bad habits (like skipping meals and not eating organic), you need them even more! I will talk more about “whole-food based” supplements and “synthetic” supplements in my next article.
Melissa Wood is a Naturopathic Doctor located in San Antonio, Texas. She has been studying alternative and natural medicine for over 20 years.
You can read more of her work at www.stayhealthyandwell.com