The nutritional decline

2018-04-04 06:03

A 2012 STUDY by Popkin et al shows that our diets have changed significantly over the past few decades.

With modern diets too often dominated by processed foods, unhealthy fats and sugar, we’ve seen sharp global spikes in statistics relating to lifestyle illnesses like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Terrifyingly, even if your diet does contain fresh vegetables, they’re probably not providing the same nutritional clout as they did 50 years ago. According to Scheer and Moss (2018) of Scientific American, the soil depletion that is caused by intensive agricultural methods means that the nutritional value of our fresh fruits and vegetables is decreasing.

Ray (2015), of the New York Times’ science Q&A column, says that this nutritional decline is caused by more than just soil depletion. It can also be attributed to changes in farming methods, processing, preparation, pesticides, chemical fertilisers and the preference for high-yielding crops, which is associated with lower nutritional density.

• The role of supplements

How can we get enough nutrients to keep us healthy? Ray (2015) says that the best approach is to eat “more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans, and less refined sugars, separated fats and oils and white flour and rice, which … have all suffered losses much greater than the potential losses for garden crops.”

Additionally, you can take nutritional supplements like vitamins and minerals. While they’ll not replace a healthy diet, many experts believe that supplements can help to bridge the gap between the nutrients you get from your food and what your body needs.

Some of the common supplements.

• Multivitamins

According to MedilinePlus (2018), there are 13 essential vitamins that we need for healthy cell function and development, including vitamins A, C, D, E, K, multiple B vitamins, and folate (folic acid). According to Whitaker (2018), a daily multivitamin can support your health in many ways, including helping you to:

• manage your stress

• improve your skin

• boost your mood

• detoxify the body

• boost energy levels

• support healthy ageing

• maintain muscle strength

• correct nutritional deficiencies

• omega fish oils

Probiotics are the bacterial micro-organisms that live in your gut. When this stomach flora is out of balance, supplementing with a probiotic can help to:

• reduce cholesterol

• lose weight and belly fat

• alleviate digestive issues

• boost the immune system

• improve several mental health issues

• reduce the severity of some allergies

Mohr (2017), a nutrition consultant and author, says that less than six percent of men and nine percent of women between the ages of five and 34 consume the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Leafy greens form an especially potent part of that count. According to Alam (2017), they may prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you don’t get enough leafy greens (in salads or smoothies), taking a supplement can help.

Herbal treatments author Nancy Kalish (2018) says there are many powerful herbal and natural supplements available too, like: turmeric for inflammation, St John’s Wort for depression, Cinnamon for blood sugar control and cholesterol, and garlic for cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. If you want to add a new supplement to your regimen, do your research and talk to your pharmacist or local health professional. — Supplied.


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