We are advised to eat a minimum of seven servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day (for adults), but does this guarantee that we will be providing our body with all the nutrients it needs on a daily basis?
Unfortunately recent research shows it probably doesnâ€™t.
Many of our fresh fruits and vegetables contain significantly lower levels of many important nutrients than they used to. For example the United States Department of Agriculture shows that:
- Vitamin A in Apples is down 41%
- Vitamin C in Sweet Peppers is down 31%
- Iron in Watercress is down 88%
- Calcium and vitamin A are down 50% in Broccoli:
Why are our foods nutritionally bankrupt?
Since the industrial and agricultural revolution we have seen factory farming takeoff and is now used to grow most of our fresh fruits and vegetables. These intensive farming methods rely on heavy use of potent herbicides and pesticides. Unfortunately, over time these chemicals have sterilised our top soils and neutralized many of the naturally occurring minerals.
Although organic farming does not use harmful chemicals, organic fruits and vegetables may still be grown in the same depleted soils and the organic â€˜sealâ€™ is not necessarily a guarantee of high mineral content.
Additionally modern, busy lifestyles lead to people choosing processed or convenience foods which often contain very little nutritional value, but have high levels of sugar, fat, salt along with a number of artificial preservatives, additives and colors.
Why are minerals important?
Although most advertising tends to focus on vitamin supplementation, minerals are equally important. Minerals are essential for almost every â€˜actionâ€™ that takes place inside the body and most vitamins need their mineral pair in order to be absorbed and utilized effectively by the body.
Because our body canâ€™t produce its own vitamins, it needs to obtain them from the food we eat and water we drink.
What can we do about it?
Itâ€™s important to remember that fresh fruits and vegetables are still healthy, provide the body with a range of nutrients and should form a key part of a healthy balanced diet.
Switching to organic or chemical free produce is a great starting point and growing your own vegetables is also a very cost-effective option (you can purchase an inexpensive soil testing kit to find out the mineral levels in your soil).
Avoiding nutrient poor fast or convenience foods is also another important step in creating a nutrient rich diet. With the focus on healthy eating; additive free and low-fat healthy options are starting to appear on restaurant menus and in many grocery stores.
For many people additional supplementation maybe required to ensure they are consuming enough of the required nutrients on a daily basis.Â Quality daily vitamin and mineral supplements are relatively inexpensive and provide a daily top-up of the essential nutrients required by your body to sustain optimum health.
It is important to remember however that not all supplements are equal and some may use higher quality natural ingredients compared with other cheaper synthetic quality versions. Check to see that your supplement has been independently tested and formulated in a way that allows the body to easily absorb the nutrients and uses only the highest quality natural ingredients.
Tom White is an experienced nutritional cleansing coach and owner of the website, bodycleansediet.com. On his website you’ll find detox product reviews, articles and advice. The website features the Isagenix 9 day Cleanse, a popular nutritional cleansing program.