It's estimated we are receiving only 40 percent of the nutritional value of food nowadays. Some reports suggest this is untrue while many reports go even farther by saying this figure is actually lower. In any case, unless you are fortunate enough to have a garden close by with organic fresh food you can harvest and eat on a daily basis, I believe the food available in the supermarket does indeed lack in nutrition.
Many fresh foods travel great distances and many foods are processed to increase shelf life. To obtain the highest possible yield, producers are forced to rely on chemical fertilizers and pesticides for their crops, while other producers use growth hormones, antibiotics, and inhumane confinement for animal production. (By the way, from what I understand about antibiotics given to animals destined for the dinner table...they are not necessary if the animals are kept in clean, un-crowded environments where they are able to stretch their legs and get fresh air and sunshine daily. Another reason to shop organic.)
The availability of high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar, and low-fibre foods has rapidly become commonplace, and growing concern with processed foods is they are becoming much less expensive than nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables. The availability and lower price of processed and energy-dense foods rich in sugar and fat makes them appealing to the pocket book as well as the taste buds, but not without consequences. Obesity, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and other chronic conditions are gaining a stronghold in North America and researchers are now beginning to admit that diet plays a huge role in the prevention and treatment of disease.
Balance, variety, and moderation are the keys to a healthful diet. A balanced proportion of foods from the different food groups, a variety of foods from within the different food groups, and moderation in the consumption of any food should provide us with the nutrients we need to sustain life.
Although developments in the food industry over time have improved food quality and safety, there are still concerns over the nutritional content the food actually contains. Nutrients should come primarily from the foods we eat, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to find foods that have not been grown in nutritionally challenged soils. Decades of poor agricultural practices are depleting foods of the nutrients we need for optimal health and wellness.
This is why nutritional supplements are important.
Nutritional supplements are designed to provide nutrients, both essential and non-essential, that you may not be getting from your diet. Also known as dietary supplements, nutritional supplements are an important part of a balanced health regime and can offer significant health benefits. They can help to correct nutritional deficiencies and help boost the immune system, and there is growing scientific evidence supporting the benefits of nutritional supplements and their role in maintaining optimal health.
Nutritional and dietary supplements are big business. It's estimated that over twenty-five billions dollars a year is spent in the United States alone on natural health products. So which supplements should you look for and which are safe to take?
In the United States, the FDA regulates dietary supplements. According to their website, "dietary supplements (are regulated) under a different set of regulations than those covering "conventional" foods and drug products (prescription and Over-the-Counter). Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register their products with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. * Manufacturers must make sure that product label information is truthful and not misleading. *Domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture/process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States are required to register their facility with the FDA."
Although "the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its dietary supplement products are safe before they are marketed" and "there are no provisions in the law for FDA to "approve" dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer", it's important to purchase nutritional supplements from a reputable company who has been in busy for many years. You can also read more on FDA regulations with regards to dietary supplements on the FDA website.
In Canada, the laws are much more stringent. On January 1, 2004 The Natural Health Products Regulations came into effect and apply to all natural health products. Products defined in the Regulations as natural health products include vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies, probiotics, homeopathic medicines, traditional medicines (such as Traditional Chinese Medicines), amino acids and essential fatty acids.
Natural health products that fall under these regulations require an NPN (Natural Product Number). Once Health Canada has assessed the product, an eight digit product license number, preceded by the letters "NPN" will appear on the label informing consumers that Health Canada has reviewed the product for safety, quality, and health claims, and the product has been approved to be marketed under the Natural Health Products Regulations and has authorized the product for sale in Canada. The Natural Health Product Directorate (NHPD) is the regulating authority for health products for sale in Canada.
Nutritional supplements that are considered food products or whole-food concentrates come under the regulations of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and do not require NPNs. When purchasing nutritional supplements look for a Natural Product Number (NPN) on the label to ensure the product has met the requirements of Health Canada, and also make sure the company selling the product is a reputable company with a good track record.
Including nutritional supplements in your diet and daily health regime doesn't need to be hard or cost a lot of money. Many companies offer high quality supplements at reasonable prices and it only takes a few minutes to mix up a healthy "green drink" from a barley grass juice concentrate such as AIM BarleyLife® or include a supplement caplet such as Kyolic® Aged Garlic Extract? with your meal.
There are many health benefits nutritional supplements have to offer. In these modern times, with the convenience, cost and available of fast and processed foods, poor dietary habits and the questionable nutrition content of nutrient-dense foods, nutritional supplements are becoming increasingly popular as an addition to complement the diet. Simply put, nutritional supplements are important for optimal health.
AIM provides a variety of superior whole food concentrates and nutritional supplements to support a healthy lifestyle, strengthen the immune system, and nourish your cells, and AIM Members enjoy the benefits of wholesale pricing.
As Members of AIM Canada, we have a dedicated team of knowledgeable people keeping on top of all the legislation and regulations, ensuring AIM Canada is compliant, so we will continue to have the right to use and share natural health products to protect our health and the health of others who wish to use Natural Health Products.
To date AIM Canada has acquired eleven NPNs with nine other AIM products in the licensing process. Food products such as AIM BarleyLife®, LeafGreens®, Just Carrots®, ProPeas? and RediBeets® come under the regulations of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and do not require NPNs.
Joanne Jackson holds a certificate in Nutrition: Studies and Applications and a certificate in Natural Health Fundamentals, and is currently studying for her diploma as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. Joanne is an advocate of healthy eating and proper nutrition and understands that the choices we make, and choosing them wisely, is the key to wellness and vitality. A Member of The AIM Companies for over twenty-three years, Joanne takes pride in sharing her knowledge of nutrition and the AIM products with others.