Eating healthy foods is more difficult than ever because, according to a study at the University of Colorado, our food is about half as nutritious as it was 100 years ago. Since the early 1900s, the nutrient density of our food has declined approximately 40-60%, the study says. So compared to the food that our great grandparents ate, our food is lacking many of the vitally important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that are necessary for good health.
Our great grandparents ate an average of 131 pounds of homegrown vegetables every year compared to only 11 pounds that the average person eats today. One recent study showed that only 11% of Americans eats 2 fruits and 3 vegetables every day. When you combine the reduced consumption with the nutrient-poor content in fresh produce, it leaves the door open for potential health problems, especially when you consider the cumulative effect over a lifetime.
USDA figures corroborate the decline in mineral and vitamin content of fruits and vegetables between 1963 and 1992 as follows:
|Mineral||Decline (Average %)|
And, the decline is continuing. In 2000, Organic Magazine compared nutrient values of foods listed by the USDA in 2000 with those listed in 1963. Vitamin A in some vegetables such as carrots seemed to have actually increased, along with some minerals. But nearly all other fruits and vegetables showed large decreases in many nutrients. Vitamin C in sweet peppers dropped from 128mg to 89mg (-69%), and vitamin A in apples dropped from 90mg to 53mg (-59%). Other decreases in nutrient values in 2000 compared to 1963 were as follows:
|Food||Vitamin A||Vitamin C||Calcium||Potassium||Magnesium|
|Beets||+ 90%||- 50%||0%||- 10%||- 8%|
|Spinach||- 17.1%||- 45.09%||+ 6.45%||+ 18.72%||- 10.25%|
|Corn||- 29.7%||- 41.66%||- 33.3%||- 3.57%||- 22.91%|
|Collards||-41.16%||- 61.95%||- 28.57%||- 51.5%||- 84.21%|
|(Source: LE Magazine, March 2001)|
Minerals Are Crucial For Health and Life
Eating healthy foods is critical because every cell in your body must have minerals to live and function. Vitamins, enzymes, hormones, the immune system and almost all biological activities and systems in the body need a wide variety of minerals in various amounts to function properly.
If mineral levels are inadequate, this may create negative effects in the body. For instance, low iron levels in women can produce anemia (a deficiency in blood iron levels). Anemia can restrict oxygen and carbon dioxide removal from the cells. Low calcium levels can facilitate irregular muscle contractions, bone density loss, blood clotting and improper brain functioning.
Are You Eating Healthy Foods?
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Probably not, according to the Nutrition Security Institute which reports that the apple of today has lost about 82% of its magnesium content and a high percentage of other important nutrients compared to the apple of 100 years ago.
The USDA recommends that we eat 3 to 5 servings of vegetables and 2 to 4 servings of fruit each day to maintain good health. That is about 9 cups of vegetables and fruit per day that we should be eating.
The bottom line is even if you’re eating healthy foods in your diet, chances are you may not be getting enough of the nutrients you need, and you may suffer from some form of nutritional deficiency.
How to Make-up for Less Nutritious Foods
The simplest way to reverse this trend is to make eating healthy foods a priority in your life and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (organic, if possible) in your meals. Plus, you should avoid eating processed foods because they contain all kinds of unhealthy ingredients, from high fructose corn syrup and trans fats to high sugar and salt content and chemical preservatives and food coloring agents. Here are some other suggestions:
- Buy locally grown organic food. Research shows that produce picked at its peak is the most nutritious. Once picked, fresh produce will gradually start to degrade. By buying locally and seasonally, you’ll eat foods when they are at their peak taste and when they are the most abundant nutritionally. Organic farmers let soil reconstitute before replanting, and they use organic manures so their produce is likely to be more nutritious.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements. There are good reasons to take supplements, according to nutrition experts. The bioavailability of the nutrients in supplements is 100% compared to food, which is very unpredictable. “Taking a multivitamin is risk-free and could have tremendous benefit,” says Aileen Burford Mason, a biochemical nutritionist and a nutrition counselor. Dr. Mason stresses that eating well is essential and that supplements should complement good food choices. She says that no matter how careful people are about eating healthy foods in their diet, they can still benefit from taking supplements.
To ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need, fortify your diet by taking Healthy Choice Naturals Full Spectrum Daily Multivitamin Supplement. It provides 56 all-natural vitamins, minerals, herbs, foods and important nutrients you need for a healthy body, alert mind, strong bones and clear vision. Plus, it contains a powerful blend of natural green tea extract, grape seed, selenium, folic acid, ginkgo, CoQ10, quercetin, and a vegetable complex, mushroom complex, fruit complex, and a digestive enzyme complex. You won’t find a more complete multivitamin supplement anywhere, at any price.