To give you an idea of how the nutritional value of our food has changed, here are some statistics. For example, watercress has, on average, about 88% less Iron than it did in 1963, and cauliflower has half the vitamin C content. During the Earth Summit in 1992 it was announced that studies showed the soil mineral content in Europe had diminished by almost three quarters over the last 100 years.
Also, the way in which we cook fruit and vegetables can destroy many of the vitamins and minerals. Boiling and steaming in particular are known to destroy many of the antioxidants in our food. Ideally, any of the water used to cook vegetables should be re-used to make gravies or sauces wherever possible, as this ensures some of the vitamins aren’t completely lost.
At the same time as the nutrients in our food have declined, our need for nutrients has increased. Many of us are now exposed to stressors like pollution, chemicals, drugs and mental stress, all of which need extra nutrients to enable the body’s to deal with them effectively.
Junk foods and convenience foods have become more popular over the years, and again, they cost the body a lot in terms of nutrients to process, whilst giving very little back. Some modern foods are even anti-nutrients, using more of the body’s resources to metabolise than they have to offer.
Nutrition in Food
Having nutrient-rich food is dependent upon having nutrient-rich soil. Modern farming methods using deep plough technology and the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fertiliser in crop production, tend to have a detrimental effect on the soil. This is because as they don’t just kill the pests, they also kill bacteria and microbes in the soil, which food crops use to create their own vitamins and minerals.
This, alongside intensive farming, leaves the soil poor in a wide range of vital nutrients, and plants struggle to obtain whatever goodness might be available.
Microbe activity is vital to soil fertility.
Also, we need to bear in mind that farmers need to wear chemical suits when they’re spraying, in order to protect themselves from the harmful effects of these chemicals, as they can have detrimental health effects, but despite this we eat the crops!
This is why it’s a good idea to eat organically produced food wherever you can, or grow some of your own at home without any help from chemical sprays.
Over the years our modern day diets may have generally declined in nutritional value. We’ve reached a point where there is a poor understanding of what real food is, and what constitutes a nourishing diet. People often don’t make the association between what they’re eating, or how a lack of vital nutrients and the wrong kind of foods, impacts their state of health Insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes are one of the fastest growing illnesses in
the world, but any nutritionist or nutritional scientist will tell you that these can be avoided by choosing the right kinds of foods.
Junk foods have virtually no nutritional value whatsoever, and the few nutrients they do contain are used up more quickly by the body as it tries to work out what to do with all the fats, sugars, and artificial additives - something it was never really designed to cope with. Unfortunately it can be hard to break these bad habits – and one study has suggested that they can even become addictive.
So many children are now becoming obese and by the time they reach adulthood they’re already at higher risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and a number of other serious health problems. The contribution made by both parents and schools not understanding the basics of a nourishing diet is a big part of the problem, and changing unhealthy childhood eating patterns can be very difficult. The phrase ‘You are what you eat’ has never been so true.