Growing up on a farm my Dad was diligent about taking care of the soil and rotating crops to help prevent nutrient depletion. This is something I have been aware of for years. I have been seeing more and more information pop up about how over the past 70 years the nutrient content in our food has declined.
“A landmark study on the topic by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.”
Due to this the fruits and vegetables we consume these days are not as nutritious as they once were. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (choose organic when possible and use the EWG List for a good guide, but know that you may not be getting all the nutrients your body needs and supplements may be helpful to ensure you meet all your needs. When taking supplements, that is how they should be intended, to supplement an already nutritious diet, not meant to replace anything.
I covered vitamins in another blog post. There are so many good options out there so be sure to do your research on the company/product before purchasing. Quality matters! It’s also important to tailor vitamin intake to your needs. I won’t go into details here, but please ask if you have questions!
One thing that we have been doing for awhile is taking “greens” to help us make sure we are getting ample nutrients from fruits and veggies. This is in addition to our supplements that we take. Lucas has tried a few different ones and is currently trying the Paleo Pro Greens. He previously was taking Athletic Greens and will go back to that once this bag is done due to flavor and overall content.
I firmly believe that health starts in the gut and this was proven to me with dealing with my pregnancy rash.
Our gut needs a healthy mix of good bacteria to optimize our absorption of nutrients. It doesn’t do any good to take supplements if we aren’t absorbing it. A healthy gut helps prevent chronic low lying inflammation as well. When our bodies are inflamed it creates widespread chaos. It affects our joints, again our absorption of nutrients, plays a role in heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Our skin is widely affected as well and acne is common.
There are many reasons to eat healthy, but absorption of nutrients and reduction of inflammation top my list. I know personally my skin looks better, my knees feel better and there is less swelling, and my GI system is happier.
Things that contribute to unhealthy gut flora:
- Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
- Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
- Diets low in fermentable fibers
- Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
- Chronic stress
- Chronic infections