Our bodies use more than 45 vitamins and minerals a day, many of which are found in plant-based foods. To sustain our health, we need to replenish these nutrients regularly, by eating lots of fruits and vegetables.
How much do we need?
It’s recommended that we all get 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies every day — and that we eat a diverse range from all the color families, too. Doing so helps us get the full spectrum of phytonutrients we need to support a healthy body and a sound mind.
That’s an aggressive goal. In fact, eight out of ten of us fall short. And factors like age, gender, smoking, exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, frequent travel, pregnancy, and poor diet can increase the need for supplementation.
What are we most deficient in?
Many of us don’t get enough of even the most basic nutrients we need. Here’s a look at the percentage of Americans who are not meeting estimated average requirements through diet alone:
How to fill the gap
The good news is that filling the nutritional gap can be easy! Dietary and plant-based supplements can help us get the phytonutrients we need most. And the American Medical Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration both support using supplements for this purpose.
Dietary supplements are designed for those of us who:
- Don’t eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day
- Eat 5-9 servings, but don’t get a wide variety
- Don’t have time to make healthy meals
- Often choose convenient, processed foods over healthier options