Weekly Gems from Ronda Gates.
As nutrition researchers have access to more sophisticated technology they have been able to isolate individual chemicals in plant foods--fruits, vegetables and grains. Research now reveals that SOME of these micro-components, which were believed to have no known function in human nutrition, may have a biological effect on the body after all. This has opened the door to sales of PHYTOCHEMICALS in pill form for the prevention or cure of many diseases.
This new knowledge has opened the door to savvy, but sometimes unscrupulous, supplement salespeople who will tell you that taking PHYTOCHEMICALS can improve your health. What they fail to reveal is that because all plants are mixtures of many PHYTOCHEMICALS we still don't know if these isolated supplements have the same effect as eating the fruits and vegetables themselves. In fact, just because some of them have been proven to be health promoting, it doesn't meant that taking fistfuls of them will make you healthy and, chances are, excess amounts may be harmful.
When someone asks me if they should take vitamins, minerals or phytochemicals my first response is, "do you exercise?" followed by "what kind of diet do you eat?" Call them any fancy name you like--they're supplements. They do not make an unhealthy person healthy.
If exercise were packaged in a pill it would be the most heavily prescribed medication in the world. Before you worry about your vitamins remember: you'll get much more in the way of health benefits from a brisk 20 minute walk than a handful of phytochemicals any day.
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