Don’t Just Eat Food — Eat Nutrients, Too

The original multivitamins were plants. Plants are filled with nearly everything humans need in order to survive: energy, water, vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and so many more items scientists are only now discovering. Yet nowadays we’re too accustomed to having our nutrients packaged into a small capsules or artificially supplemented into processed foods. How incredibly detrimental to our health as a species.

Scientists, doctors, nutritionists and researchers don’t know everything about everything. Research is constantly being done. Society is constantly expanding its knowledge of how the world around and inside us works. We don’t have a full understanding of why we need vitamins and minerals. Or how vitamins and minerals work in the body. And how different consumption methods of different nutrients yield different biological results.

One example of this is related to antioxidants. In short, antioxidants are supposed to prevent cancer by preventing DNA damage that causes harmful mutations. However, most studies show no significant difference in cancer rates between individuals who supplemented with antioxidants and those who did not. One study even showed significant detrimental effects of beta carotene supplementation in smokers. Smokers who supplemented with beta-carotene were actually more likely to develop lung cancer.

Don’t let studies such as the one mentioned make you fear antioxidants. The reason antioxidants were studied in this manner was because individuals who ate plenty of antioxidant-rich foods were less likely to to develop chronic conditions than people who didn’t.

They key here? The individuals who had a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases were eating whole foods with antioxidants in them. Not supplements of antioxidants. Fruits, vegetables and other plant foods don’t only contain antioxidants but also contain the nutrients mentioned above. Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, phytonutrients, fiber and water.

It’s clear that it’s not the antioxidants alone that fight the development of chronic diseases. The combination of all the nutrients found in plant foods makes the difference.

Instead of supplementing with a multivitamin, try a salad, a banana or a sweet potato. These options are better than taking a multivitamin. Whole foods, not supplements, were involved in our evolutionary process that created the humans we are today.

Whole, plant-based foods are they keys to longevity and health until we know everything there is to know about biology, physics, nutrition and health.

And that’s going to take a long time.


  • Updated a couple of years ago
Sara Binde

Sara is a health and nutrition coach. She advocates for a whole foods plant-based lifestyle and teaches the world how to achieve weight loss.