In a perfect world, there would be no need for multivitamins, probiotics, protein powders, or dietary supplements of any kind.
Ideally, a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy protein would be perfectly nourishing on its own.
But the reality is, only 8.9 percent of Americans eat enough vegetables each day to meet the national recommendations. On the other hand, more than a third of American kids eat at a fast food restaurant each day. And people following one of four popular diets would have to eat an average of 27,575 calories per day to get enough micronutrients, as recommended by the government.
It's clear that most of us aren't getting the nutrition we need, no matter how healthy we try to eat—that's where vitamins and supplements come in. When choosing a vitamin to make up for deficiencies in your diet, the type of supplement is important—and real food supplements are the ideal choice.
Unlike the synthetically formulated vitamins you'll find in many supplement bottles, real food options provide nutrients in their most bioavailable state—the way nature intended them to be consumed. In their isolated form, some nutrients—such as vitamin C—don't have the same function in the body as their natural form. Not to mention, many of the synthetic, off-brand vitamins and supplements you find on pharmacy shelves are stuffed with fillers such as rice or house plants.
Real food supplements, on the other hand, contain only naturally occurring sources of vitamins and minerals. Some may be reformulated into a powder or pill, sure, but the supplements are whole foods by nature. Several brands make these kind of high-quality supplements, but only one takes these nutrients to the next level: Get Real Nutrition.
Made with real fruit and vegetable juices, herbs, and botanicals, Get Real's organic, vegan supplements are about as close to whole food as you can get. Plus, each supplement has been fermented and sprouted—a crucial step in helping the body actually put nutrients to use, as Kristie Romano of Get Real explains.
"Basically, think of sprouting as building up and fermentation as breaking down," she says.
When something is sprouted, it essentially starts to germinate, or try to grow into a plant. As the sprout starts to grow, the nutritional makeup of the nut, grain, or legume changes; sprouts not only contain less starch and more protein than plain old seeds, but also produce more vitamin B and C. Importantly, sprouting something also creates the enzyme phytase, which makes foods easier to digest.
So sprouting already puts you in a good place, nutritionally. Fermenting the sprouts really takes it to the next level.
When sprouted foods are then fermented, healthy bacteria start to break them down. In other words, "the nutrients are almost predigested for you, so the assimilation in the body is greater," as Romano says.
Health-savvy readers might also know another bonus of fermenting foods: the creation of beneficial bacterial called probiotics.
"The cool part about fermentation, too, is that if you think about the microorganisms, when they proliferate and when they eat, they create all sorts of lovely compounds," Romano says. Those probiotics can not only improve gut health, but also help fight seasonal allergies and beat depression and anxiety.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho