Nutrients from Natural Food Beat Nutrients from Pills

For years, pharmaceutical and supplement companies have tried to bottle the benefits of healthy Mediterranean, Nordic and Okinawan diets, with limited success. For example, several studies show an association between regular fish consumption and cardiovascular health but little benefit associated with omega 3 fish oil capsules. The story with calcium pills and bone health is similar. 

A recent study out of Tufts University with 27,725 participants further supports getting nutrients from food. Adequate intakes of vitamin K (found in leafy greens), vitamin A and zinc — from foods, but not supplements — were associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

“Our results support the idea that, while supplements contribute to increased levels of nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren’t seen with supplements,” noted senior study author Fang Zhang, Ph.D.

According to nutritional experts at the Mayo Clinic, food offers three primary benefits over pills: Greater nutrition from the complexity of foods, essential fiber, and protective substances like “phytochemicals” that occur naturally and can help prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. 

Finally, who can argue that natural foods taste better than a handful of pills? For example, would you prefer a delicious, performance boosting chocolaty smoothie with a scoop of FlavaMix or four flavanol capsules? That’s an easy choice for us. 😉