The Power of Nutrients
Your body needs a whole host of nutrients to function properly, for growth and repair, for energy and to help prevent and reduce the risk of disease.
The best way to get your nutrients is through food. And the more varied your diet is the better. But if you are on a restricted diet and as you age, getting the nutrients you need can be a challenge. Compounding this challenge is the fact that the nutrient profile of food has changed over time, including a statistically reliable decline in the nutritional value of produce1 and the now commonplace use of pesticides and herbicides that has significantly increased our exposure to chemicals known to adversely affect human health and the environment.
So, it’s also fair to say that you can’t get all the nutrients you need — to meet basic nutritional requirements, reduce the risk of disease, and protect your DNA and health from environmental toxins – from food alone. As a result, quality dietary supplements also play an essential role in achieving optimal health and preventing disease as we journey to improve and restore the nutrient profile of food.
The resources on NutrientPower.org will help you take charge of your health by highlighting some of the nutrients you need for optimal health, how and where to find high quality food and supplement sources for these nutrients, and how you can check your nutrient levels while helping to advance nutrient research.
NutrientPower.org is also your gateway to learning about the agricultural and production practices and the quality standards adopted by growers, producers and manufacturers who are concerned with creating and sustaining healthy people and a healthy planet.
These practices and standards are hallmarks of regenerative agriculture and regenerative systems. Watch as Will Harris, President of the American Grassfed Association and owner of White Oak Pastures, talks about his evolution from industrial farmer to regenerative farmer.
When You Shop
Here are some helpful tips on how to be a product-savvy and nutrient-wise shopper.
Focus on whole foods. Minimize processed foods.
Fill your cart with fresh produce and fresh eggs, meats, fish and seafood. For packaged foods, try finding products with five ingredients or fewer. The fewer the ingredients the better.
Eat a variety of foods.
Shop for healthy fats (such as avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil), fresh produce (unlimited vegetables and moderate amounts of fruit), grass-fed meats and dairy, pastured poultry, organic free-range eggs, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), and nuts and seeds.
Eat seasonal produce and buy local.
Eating seasonally will help you increase the variety in your diet, and buying local produce will help reduce your exposure to pesticides. Local produce is typically richer in nutrients since it has been picked more recently. Buying from a local farm also offers you opportunities to talk directly with the grower or producer about the methods and practices they use.
Buy organic when you can.
Look for the USDA organic seal or the phrase “made with organic ____” in the ingredients list.
Choose grass-fed meats and dairy.
Meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals are healthy for people, animals, communities and the planet. Look for the American Grassfed Association seal.
With the majority of Americans taking at least one supplement and with supplement use continuing to rise, it’s important to purchase the highest quality product you can – particularly given that many supplements are taken daily and for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, there is no one source to rely on when shopping for quality supplements.
Here are ways to evaluate the companies and the products they offer:
Utilize product labels to your advantage.
While federal regulations can make labels overly complicated, know that ingredients are listed in the order of quantity, with the primary ingredient first. You can also see the daily value for each ingredient and see if ingredients are certified organic, gluten free, non-GMO or vegetarian. And, like foods, seek products with the cleanest and most organic ingredients possible. Federal law prohibits making claims about the use of dietary supplements to treat, cure or prevent any disease. Pay close attention to a label with such assertions. Such a violation raises a red flag when it comes to company integrity.
Determine if the product has been made according to FDA current good manufacturing practices (cGMP)
— which ensure the use of sanitary and well-controlled procedures — and is certified as such by an independent, third-party organization.
Educate yourself through reliable sources.
Consult with trained professionals at independent natural product retail stores like Lassens Natural Foods and Vitamins in California or Natur-Tyme in New York. Both are members of the Organic & Natural Health Association.
Check to see if the supplement company belongs to reputable national trade associations
like the Organic & Natural Health Association. Membership indicates a company is taking a leadership role in advocating for quality standards that benefit consumers.
Spend some time reviewing the supplement company’s website.
Quality companies will often share their story on how their supply chain is managed, including how they source ingredients, the rigor of their compliance programs, and any sustainability initiatives in place.
Avail yourself of some of the nation’s premier practitioners.
Check out the websites of our NutrientPower™ experts and the many books they have published. And always consult with your own integrative practitioner or certified nutritionist specialist regarding the variety of products available.
Call the customer service number of the dietary supplement company
with any questions you have. The quality of the customer service response is often a reliable indicator of product quality.