During What Season are You More Likely to Suffer from Vitamin Deficiencies?
Is there any one season of the year associated with vitamin deficiencies? What do you think? In truth, every time of the year poses risks in terms of not receiving the correct amount of nutrients. However, you might be surprised to learn that summer tends to be the most deficient season. Why is this the case? After all, we tend to consume many fruits and vegetables when the temperatures outside begin to rise. We should answer three questions in order to appreciate the big picture:
- What is the minimum recommended vitamin intake?
- What is the vitamin content of fruits and vegetables?
- What percentage of our daily intake do these foods provide?
I chose vitamin C as an example, as it tends to be one of the most common nutrients found in the majority of fruits and vegetables. So, how much vitamin C do we need? As I addressed the maths around this question in another blog here, I will stick to the facts. A person weighing 50 kilogrammes should take approximately 1,500 milligrams per day (50 kilogrammes times 30 milligrams) for optimal health. So, we have already answered the first question.
How much vitamin C is contained within fruits and vegetables? We have already made some calculations involving the volumes required to be eaten in order to address issues such as vitamin degradation.
Do we really consume enough fruits and vegetables? To be honest, I have asked this question to friends and family members. It is actually a bit difficult to calculate the recommended daily allowances in relation to how many fruits and veggies that they eat. This primarily arises from the fact that they were never taught how to make such calculations. They simply head off to the market and purchase a plethora of fruits and vegetables under the assumption that they are automatically receiving the correct amount of vitamins.
So, they are often shocked when I state that they would need to consume between 40 and 50 tomatoes (4 kilogrammes of proper organic tomatoes) in order to obtain 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C. They must eat an incredible 3,5-4 kilogrammes of strawberries in order to reach 1,500 milligrams. This is what we need assuming our body weight is 50 kilogrammes. What about a man who weighs 90 kilogrammes? How much would he be required to consume? While the calculations are straightforward, the amount of food is daunting.
This primarily arises from the fact that we have been taught that vitamins are “seasonal” nutrients. This is also why common expressions such as “Winter is coming, so I better load up on vitamin D” are so misleading. Individuals assume that they do not require vitamin D during the summer, as the sun helps their bodies produce sufficient amounts. However, tanned skin stops producing vitamin D. We therefore begin to have a deficiency. The same holds true for other nutrients.
This is why people begin taking vitamins in the autumn and winter in order to boost their health. They don’t appear to be necessary in the summer because individuals receive “many” nutrients through fruits and vegetables. “Many” in relation to what? Compared to a £10 pound note, perhaps.
So, we tend to stop consuming these vital nutrients without realising that it is akin to abstaining from eating. This is the primary reason why summer is considered to represent the most vitamin-deficient season of the year.
Dear reader: no vitamin is a “seasonal” substance. This is the big secret and one of the keys to leading a healthy lifestyle.