Find out why you may not be getting the optimal levels of essential nutrients.
Today’s diets are depleted of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and other nutrients due to the decreasing quality of our food supply and busy lifestyles. Combining a healthy diet and dietary supplements is the best approach to achieve optimal health.
Modern lifestyles typically involve juggling work, family and other activities. This leaves little time devoted to quality food choices and meals, leading instead to selections based on convenience. These options tend to be higher in fat, refined carbs and sodium and usually involve extensive processing to enhance taste, which can destroy or remove nutrients. Furthermore, higher amounts of these types of foods are associated with marginal micronutrient intake and low serum concentrations of vitamin A, E, C, B12, folate and carotenoids.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicates that only 40% of Americans ate the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The standard American diet is typically characterized by a high intake of:
- Saturated Fat
- Red Meat
- Refined Grains
It is lower in nutrients and also low in essential fats, which are critical for healthy cardiovascular function, inflammatory balance and cognitive support. Essential fats include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: fish, flaxseed and walnuts
- Omega-6 fatty acids: vegetable oils, grains and seeds
Americans typically consume a diet that has a ratio of 10:1 omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Research indicates that an optimal ratio is closer to 3:1.
Consuming a balanced diet that meets the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, essential fatty acids and lean sources of protein still may not ensure ample nutrient intake due to changes in our food supply. A recent comparison study evaluated potential changes in the average nutrient content of 43 fruits and vegetables between 1950 and 1999 and found the following results:
- 6% decrease in protein
- 16% decrease in calcium
- 9% decrease in phosphorus
- 15% decrease in iron
- 38% decrease in riboflavin
- 20% decrease in ascorbic acid
Why is our food getting less nutritious? Here are a few of the top reasons:
Genetic selection – modern fruits and vegetables are genetically selected, and in some cases modified, for shelf life, high yield or other growth characteristics rather than their ability to extract or synthesize nutrients from the environment
Atmospheric CO2 – an increased level of CO2 in the atmosphere, due to pollution, decreases the nitrogen, potassium, magnesium and protein content of plants.
Fertilization quality – fertilization of the soil with isolated key nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as opposed to more comprehensive fertilizers, can alter the composition of plants and lead to nutrient losses.
Don’t worry! While these facts may be frightening, you can combat the world’s food quality situation through following some simple guidelines.
Choose nutrient dense foods. Whole grains and brightly colored fruits and vegetables typically have high nutrient levels. Choosing lean, free-range sources of protein and fat, as well as organic foods is also important.
Preserve nutrients during cooking. Avoid overcooking food to optimize nutrition retention. Whether baking, grilling, or steaming, fruits and vegetables should still be colorful and slightly crisp when consumed.
Buy fresh local foods. Reducing the amount of time foods are in storage or transit helps to preserve the naturally occurring nutrients in food. Less transit also means less CO2 generated in the atmosphere.
Take high quality nutritional supplements. Choose a high quality, hypo-allergenic nutritional supplement brand that is free of fillers, coatings, binders, allergens, artificial colors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils or other excipients. These undesirable ingredients can diminish the bioavailability or health-promoting potential of the nutrients. Unlike foods, supplements also have the benefit of providing consistent levels of vitamins and minerals. For specific health concerns, it is important to choose supplements that reflect active ingredients and dosage levels used in studies.
*Disclaimer- content from this article was taken from Pure Encapsulations | www.pureencapsulations.com