You’d think that Americans’ health would be better than ever with all of the advances in technology, medicine, and agriculture we’ve had over the past century. Yet we’re facing a national health crisis. Most of us are deficient in at least one nutrient, and many of us have no idea until something goes wrong.
Deficiency isn’t a new problem, but it is a modern one. Food manufacturers strip nutrients from whole grains to create white flour and white rice, and then add a few of them synthetically back in. These altered grain products are clearly not the same as the original whole grains, yet they are marketed as wholesome and healthy. Royal Lee, DDS, a researcher and pioneer in whole food nutrition, attempted to reveal this fraud to the American public in the 1920’s and frequently wrote about how deficient we were in the 1930’s.
Documentaries like Food, Inc. are bringing this crucial topic back into the spotlight, and even First Lady Michelle Obama has emphasized the importance of healthy whole food with the planting of the White House’s first organic vegetable garden.
But obviously, we’re busy and can’t all become organic farmers. Rushed for time, we eat out more often and cook less than any generation before us. We work long days and take less vacation time. And, let’s face it, we are all too stressed and don’t get enough rest, sun and exercise.
So, how will you get all the vital nutrients you need to stay healthy? It’s easier than you think! All you need to do is focus on these top three essentials:
1. Vitamin D
Did you know that 85% of us are unable to pass the blood test for vitamin D? This essential vitamin is our best defense against viruses like colds and the flu.
The very best source of vitamin D is from the sun. This doesn’t mean you need to get tan, or stay out until your skin turns pink or burns – that means you’ve had more than you need. All you need is 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight per day, which you can easily get when you take a walk to get your lunch. Just make sure you ditch the sunscreen – wearing it will prevent vitamin D production. Also, cloudy or even hazy days will prevent vitamin D production.
If your skin is too fair for the sun, you can take a vitamin D supplement. Cod liver oil also provides vitamin D, as well as omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin A, which are important for immune system health.
2. Vitamin B
Do you want more energy? Do you want to be able to think and remember more clearly? Would you like to lift your moods? Vitamin B can help in all of these areas – and it is another nutrient in which we are all sorely deficient.
How do you know if you’re deficient in B Vitamins? Here are several signs:
Apprehension Noise sensitivity Insomnia
Irritability Acoustic hallucinations Anxiety
Morbid fears Tendency to cry without reason Anorexia
Never seems to get well Hair is coarse and/ or thinning Fatigue
Forgetfulness Inability to concentrate; confusion Nervousness
Indigestion Frequent stuffy nose; sinus infections Weakness
Poor appetite Skin sensitive to touch Loose joints
Craving for sweets Tendency toward hives
Muscular soreness Allergies to some foods
Headache Depression; feelings of dread
You can get your B vitamins from whole foods like liver and foods made from liver (such as pate and liverwurst), nutritional yeast, and whole grains (especially if they are soaked, sprouted or fermented).
If you’re not so good at eating these foods, we have whole food supplements full of B vitamins – and they won’t turn your urine fluorescent yellow or raise your heart rate, a sign of a toxin that your body is trying to remove.
3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
You’ve probably heard about Omega 3 essential fatty acids and wonder why everyone talks about them so much. Well, they truly are essential – they offer so many benefits for your heart, brain, and overall health.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are best known for reducing risk of heart disease, stroke and fighting inflammation. They do this by reducing the rate of plaque formation in arteries, thinning the blood, and regulating insulin levels which are related to cardiovascular health.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also important for brain health – and they happen to be the most common fat in the brain. Babies with low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids have lower birth weights and lower IQ’s. Have you ever heard that fish is brain food? That’s because many fish are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
The Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oils are also especially helpful in lowering elevated triglycerides. Triglycerides become elevated when we don’t exercise and eat too many carbohydrates – leading us down the path to diabetes, weight gain and a host of other problems. When triglycerides go down, HDL (the good cholesterol) goes up.
Besides fish, grass-fed beef, farm raised eggs, and flax seed oil are all good source of Omega 3 fatty acids. If these foods are not staples in your diet, there’s a good chance that you’re deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids.
You can boost your Omega 3 levels with our tuna oil capsules. They are from a very clean source and are checked for freshness, unlike many fish oils that were allowed to go rancid before encapsulation. We also have cod liver oil (which I recommend in the winter) in both liquid (cheaper) and capsule form.
Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Farm Raised v. Wild-Caught
(Will here): Having lived in Alaska for a number of years, salmon is one of my favorite fish for getting Omega 3 oils in my diet. Today, you can get salmon in many restaurants and grocery stores, but you may notice that you can get wild-caught salmon or farmed salmon. What’s the difference?
What you might have immediately noticed is that wild fish is more expensive than the farmed fish — you can tell because the restaurants and fish markets brag about their wild fish! Farmed salmon is known to contain high levels of PCB’s, the chemical toxins that persist in the environment. The PCB contamination comes from the feed the farmed salmon are given. And, just like feedlot cattle, farmed salmon ingest high levels of antibiotics. This article in the New York Times ( NYT Salmon Article ) just three weeks ago talks about how high the antibiotic use is in salmon farming in Chile. The farmed salmon, just like the feedlot cattle, chicken and pigs, live in crowded conditions where disease breeds easily. The rise in diseases actually also negatively impacts the wild populations that swim by the fish farms, and puts the wild fish into jeopardy as well.
Recent studies have shown that wild populations living in proximity to farmed populations are declining in numbers. I recommend eating wild salmon over farmed salmon, and if it seems expensive, remember the value of what you are getting and savor it as a treat.