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Why eating a balanced diet doesn’t cut the mustard

Five a day, protein, fibre, just the right amount of carbs and a dash of dairy. If you do this, you’ll be getting all the micronutrients you need for a healthy body and mind. 

Five a day, protein, fibre, just the right amount of carbs and a dash of dairy. If you do this, you’ll be getting all the micronutrients you need for a healthy body and mind. 

Sound familiar? We’re used to hearing this all the time, from many a direction.

And what’s good enough for our ancestors is good enough for us, right?

Yes, our ancestors survived and thrived by eating the foods that nature provided for them. Meats, fish, fruits, eggs, nuts and the like were all readily served up by mother nature. 

But then, farming happened. In a big way.

Fast forward to today and food is being mass-produced for the masses. Because of the rapidly growing population, farmers around the world must employ every resource available to them to push their crop yields to the absolute limits.

And these resources are potentially damaging to us humans. In fact, they’re stripping our food of its vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to be optimally healthy. 

A 2005 study by the British Association of Nutritional Therapy, showed that from 1940 to 1991, many fresh fruits and vegetables had lost large amounts of minerals and trace elements.

So why is our supermarket fruit and veg nutritional value taking a nosedive?

Soil quality depletion

The fruit and veg we eat usually happily grows in soil. However, modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients directly from the soil.

Soil health is suffering. The world grows 95% of its produce from top-soil, but conventional farming practices have resulted in over half of the world’s top soil disappearing in the last 150 years.

The result is crops are still growing, but they’re lacking essential vitamins and minerals from the soil to be as nutritious as they once were. So that carrot you ate today doesn’t quite measure up to a carrot from 40 years ago. 

Nasty pesticides

There’s no doubt that pesticides are having a rapid and positive influence on the quantity of produced food. 

But at the same time, they’re having to hold their hands up to certain side-effects, often creating some hazard to human health and well-being.

Studies have shown that pesticides can react with the vitamin and mineral content in fruit and veg, and actually reduce it. So you’re not getting pests biting into your apples, but you are getting an apple that’s doused in pesticides. 

In fact, another study by Washington State University showed that across the important antioxidant compounds in fruits and vegetables, organic fruits and vegetables deliver between 20 and 40 percent higher antioxidant activity.

And we need those powerful antioxidants to keep healthy.

What you can do

It might sound dismal, but there's light at the end of the tunnel. 

Before you panic and boycott all supermarkets and rent an allotment, there are some bits you can do. 

  • Firstly, continue on your balanced diet quest. Make it as micronutrient-rich as possible, including organic, pesticide-free produce, and grass-fed organic meat and dairy.
  • Always look for the non-GMO project verified label to make sure you’re not getting a genetically modified food.  
  • Take a multivitamin supplement that will top up what you’re getting from supermarket food to bring equilibrium back to your body and mind.

Final thoughts

We all try to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. But remember that food isn’t healthy, you are healthy based on the nutrition you get from food. 

While farmers around the world are doing their best to bring soil quality back up to par, supplementing your balanced diet with vitamins and minerals will keep you optimally healthy.

Love, Vitami