Achieving a balanced diet is hard to do with all the convenient food options we have today, such as fast food and pre-packaged food. It’s especially difficult for college students whose age bracket is the one needing essential vitamins and minerals the most.
Many people will say: just eat the proper serving for each food group and you’ll be fine. The proper serving for fruits and vegetables has gone up to 3– 5 servings. This equates to eating fruits and vegetables for each meal and also as a snack twice a day. Who has time to make sure they are eating the correct servings?
“I take a plant based multivitamin because I feel that the food I eat here doesn’t meet the nutritional requirements I need,” says sophomore Jenna Dougherty.
She’s correct. Even if we did consume the suggested daily servings of fruits and vegetables, we still aren’t getting the nutrients we need.
Based on an article by Energetic Nutrition, a website that provides information on proper nutrition, our produce has significantly reduced concentrations of vitamins and minerals.
They say there are five culprits: current farming methods, mass food production, foreign grown produce, processing, and cooking.
Mass food production is the biggest culprit. It has resulted in destructive farming practices such as burning crops rather than tilling residuals back into the soil, no longer using animal fertilizers that help fortify the soil, and the use of synthetic chemicals for pest and weed control, all of which have attributed to our top soils becoming devoid of nutrients.
The fruits and vegetables produced by these methods are often harvested prior to being ripe. This does not allow the important antioxidants in the pulp skin to come to full completion. For produce to have its full nutritional value, it needs to ripen on the vine or branch.
Consequently, the fruits and vegetables grown in other countries that are often picked prematurely lack the nutrients needed and the protection they get from antioxidants. It’s better to buy locally-grown fresh produce to ensure that you are receiving the full amount of nutrition.
Food processing and refining to make it last longer than it’s supposed to has also been shown to reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals present. For instance, the beneficial part of the wheat berry which is high in fiber along with essential fatty acids and nutrients is removed from white flour.
It’s then “fortified” with four nutrients: iron and three B-vitamins, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. These have all been artificially added while more nutrients were removed. This can be problematic for those with restricted diets such as vegetarians.
“I’m a vegetarian so I take a men’s multi-vitamin to make sure I stay healthy. I also take calcium pills to strengthen my teeth,” says senior Daniel Chapman.
A daily vitamin such as Men’s and Women’s One-A-Day will ensure that your body receives all the nutrients it needs.
Although it is better to receive nutrients naturally from your food, taking a vitamin to make sure you are getting all the required vitamins and minerals is better than nothing.
And if you don’t like a standard pill vitamin, try the gummy vitamins such as One -A-Day VitaCraves available for adults, like junior Meredith Saville.
“I thoroughly enjoy taking gummy vitamins; they are the highlight of my morning.”