Supplements or Whole Foods: Which Has Best Long-Term Health Benefits?

People turn to supplements because they contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in a single dose or pill form. And with just one gulp, whether they are hungry or not hungry, have an appetite or not, can still enjoy their daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Another reason for supplements is they that contain all the potent phytophenol that vegetables and fruits of all colors can contain, and this is undeniably more “palatable” for people who don’t like their veggies.

However, emerging research shows that nutrients coming from whole foods have better long-term health benefits. In fact, vitamins in a pill form may not have as many protective benefits as its whole food counterpart.

Supplements vs. Whole Foods

Hands down, supplements DO give health benefits and may have a positive effect on all-cause mortality primarily due to the nutrients they contain. However, all the positive health benefits may partly or largely depend on where you get these nutrients.

In fact, a cancer epidemiologist of Tufts University, Fang Fang Zhang cited that “while supplement use contributes to an increased level of total nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren’t seen with supplements.”

Whole Foods for The Win With The Best Long-Term Health Benefits

It was seen that minerals and vitamins coming from whole food sources were linked to a lowered risk of death and heart-related problems.

In the study conducted by Zhang, it was done on a total of 30,000 plus people whose vitamin intake were recorded. Proper levels of copper, zinc, vitamin K, and A were linked to a decreased risk of heart diseases. But the huge eye-opener for them came when the sources for these vitamins were traced, and the results hinged on the sources of these nutrients.

Finally, Zhang concluded that those individuals who got their vitamins from supplements resulted in no reductions to their risk of heart disease. But, for those who got their nutrients from whole foods, enjoyed a lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as all-cause mortality risk. Therefore, where you get your vitamins is crucial to your long-term health benefits.

It Pays to Be Health Conscious

According to Zhang’s analysis of the data from a Gallup 2013 poll, showed that as much as 51.2% of Americans take dietary supplements and as much as 38.3% took them within the last 30 days. Although supplements may not have equal nutritive value to its whole food counterpart, the regimen of taking it is linked to positive traits like the person’s high level of health consciousness. As a result, they are less likely to be obese, drink heavily, or smoke—meaning they are conscious when it comes to lifestyle choices.

Zhang reported that those people who do take supplements generally had a higher baseline nutrient intake than those who did not supplement their diets.

To drive the point of the study once again, multivitamins may be convenient, but they fall short on providing the needed long-term health benefits—as hoped. Thus, there are no shortcuts when it comes to eating right, but the health benefits do accumulate even when you start with a vegetable or two.

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