The fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion.
Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Also efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly, but their ability to up take nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth. Plus, in order to ship them to distant markets, they often are harvested before they are fully mature leaving nutrients they would have had still in the soil.
What can be done? The key to healthier produce is healthier soil. Alternating fields between growing seasons to give the land time to restore would be one important step. Also foregoing pesticides and fertilizers in favor of organic growing methods is good for the soil, the produce and its consumers. If you want to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables buy regularly from local organic farmers.
Just because fruits and vegetables aren't as healthy as they used to be doesn't mean we should avoid them. Vegetables are extraordinarily rich in nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals. They are still there, and vegetables and fruits are our best sources for these. We just need to be aware that they are not at the same level that they were decades ago and we have to consume more to get the same nutrients.
What is alarming eight out of ten people are not getting the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. This has to be a major reason for the high rate of diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Many research studies now show a much higher rate of success reversing a disease using nutrition and a healthy lifestyle then they have been able to accomplish with a drug.
Optimal Health starts with the food you eat.
The next time you walk down a produce aisle, pay attention to all the different colors. Each vibrant plant color is tied to the phytonutrients it contains--and a specific range of health benefits. In order to get many protective benefits for your whole body, its important to eat a wide variety of different colors.
Because it's not possible for most of us to eat perfectly every single day, or to know exactly the amount of nutrients we are consuming, we need to use wise supplementation to fill any gaps in nutrients that we are not getting in the food we actually eat. That is where most people get confused and need to know what to look for. I will cover that next time.