Maximizing Your Nutrition Dollar

Because of consumer demand, the food industry focus is on producing fruits and vegetables that ship well, not nutrient content. How food is stored and processed has an impact on nutrition. The best defense against nutritionally depleted foods is careful supplementation followed by purchasing fresh foods as close to the source and organically grown whenever feasible.

Getting the most nutrition for every dollar spent is of great concern for those interested in maintaining good health. Yet for the average consumer, the nutrition derived from fresh food dollars has substantially decreased over the past three decades. Why is this happening and what can be done about it?

Everyone wants good nutrition from the foods we eat and we are encouraged to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Yet in light of the methods used to bring food to our tables, getting even minimal levels of nutrients from the foods we eat can be a challenge. Why is it such a challenge to get good nutrition from our most basic foods?

The answer lies in many of the habits of our modern lifestyle. We no longer live on farms, so our foods often must travel great distances from field to table. Because consumers demand produce with an attractive (read 'perfect') appearance, the food industry focus is on producing fruits and vegetables that ship well, not nutrient content. Picked green in the field and shipped in cold storage, many types of produce that look great in the store fail to produce optimal nutrients that develop only in the ripe state, or lose much of their nutrients in cold dark conditions. Examples of this are tomatoes and lettuce. Vine ripened tomatoes are proven to contain higher levels of beta-carotene, lycopene and soluble fiber than green picked fruit. Lettuce loses up to 46% of certain nutrients within 7 days of cold, dark storage.

Another reason for nutrient poor produce is the very soils they are grown in. Soils throughout North America have been depleted since the 'dust bowl' years of the 1930's. Soil depletion is a problem worldwide, because of poor farming methods that take from the soil without returning the minerals vital to good health. Modern methods replace only the minerals necessary for good plant growth, not trace minerals essential for human health. Although this trend is beginning to be reversed by today's organic farmer's careful cultivation of the soil, depletion continues to be a problem throughout the world with little attention paid to the contribution of trace minerals to good health.

How food is stored on the grocery shelf also has an impact on nutrition. Tomato juice retains vitamin C better in cans than in glass containers, whereas orange juice retains its vitamin C better in glass than plastic or glass containers. Vitamin K as well as some B vitamins is depleted by exposure to light, including fluorescent light present in grocery stores. For example, enriched pastas can lose up to 80% riboflavin content if stored in lighted conditions for just 12 weeks.

Other factors that influence nutritional quality of fresh fruits and vegetables include washing, preparation (chopping, slicing, etc.), and cooking and storage methods in the home. There are too many known variables in preserving food nutritional quality to list in this brief article. Yet, very little research has been done to fully determine nutrient losses in our modern food system.

There is a very good source available which summarizes much of what is known. Written by Jane Ramberg, MS and Bill McAnalley, PhD and titled, "From Farm to the Kitchen Table: A Review of the Nutrient Losses in Foods", published in the Glycoscience & Nutrition journal, September 1, 2002 issue, volume 3, number 5, this informative summary is the basis for information provided in this article. Anyone who desires a free copy of the entire summary may obtain one by contacting the author at the source listed in the author's bio.

The best defense against nutritionally depleted foods is careful supplementation followed by purchasing fresh foods as close to the source and organically grown whenever feasible. Maximizing your nutrition dollar by getting optimal nutrition from all sources is your best offensive move for maintaining good health.

Karen Walker is a home business consultant specializing in the health and wellness industry.

http://www.newamericanfamily.com

eMail to: karen@newamericanfamily.com

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


An Open Letter to Mankind

In the last twenty years, a huge and growing body... Read More

Omega 3 Fat is Good for Your Heart and for Your Brain

Scandinavian fishermen are a healthy bunch. It had long been... Read More

Avoiding Nutritionally Deficient Foods After Gastric Bypass

After WLS we must concentrate on eating nutrient rich food.... Read More

Whatever Happened to the Basic Four Food Groups?

What Ever Happened to the Basic FourThe USDA was originally... Read More

Odd Fact or Oxymoron: Learning How To Cook Will Help You Drop a Few Pounds and Gain a Few Friends

Finding simple ways to reduce my waistline is always a... Read More

Functional Foods Are Becoming More Popular...

Established in 1989 by Stephen DeFelice, "Foundation for Innovation in... Read More

Can a Child Thrive on a Vegan Diet? YES!

Can a child thrive on a vegan diet? The answer... Read More

Minerals, Minerals, Minerals

You are a mineral bodyEvery part of you is made... Read More

The Myths Associated with Human Growth Hormone

I would like to dispel some of the myths and... Read More

Preventing Heart Disease: What Not To Eat

About 12.6 million Americans currently have heart disease.1.1 million Americans... Read More

The Benefits Of Drinking Herbal Teas

Herbal teas have long been known to have medicinal benefits... Read More

Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil -- Why Is It Different?

A flood of scientific evidence about fish oil points to... Read More

Saturated Fat Diet Piles on Pounds Around Organs

Having a large amount of such "visceral fat" is associated... Read More

Beginning an Alkaline Diet: The Basic Principles - Start Alkalizing Today!

Each and every person living in the UK is... Read More

Personal Wellness Program

Having a personal wellness program has become a concern for... Read More

That Cookie Might Kill You!

Chances are you may have had a food product that... Read More

Calculating Your Calorie Needs

In order to eat fewer calories than you need, you... Read More

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: What are They, Really?

"The physician who knows only medicine, knows not even medicine."... Read More

The Importance of Protein

Protein is one of the basic building blocks of the... Read More

Cranberry Juice To The Rescue

Cranberry juice was first made by American settlers in 1683.... Read More

Understanding Nutrition

With the release of the new dietary guidelines, in the... Read More

Introduction To Cocaine Addiction

Coke, more commonly known as cocaine is a highly addictive... Read More

The Glycemic Index and Dieting

The field of nutrition is awash with charts, tables, diagrams,... Read More

Post Workout Nutrition: Secrets to a Hard, Lean Body

As you've probably heard before, your post-workout meal may very... Read More

Redeeming Unsaturated Fat

The most dreaded word in many dieter's vocabulary is 'fat'.... Read More

Fruits and Vegetables and Phytochemicals

I'm willing to bet you probably haven't heard the word... Read More

Foods Can Lower Cholesterol and C-reactive Protein

If you have high cholesterol, the American Heart Association's low-cholesterol,... Read More

The Five Keys to Healthy Eating

1. Enjoy what you eatWhether someone is following the Atkins... Read More

What Would You Do For a Klondike Bar?

Unfortunately, the words "diet" and "cheating" go hand in hand.... Read More

Artificial Sweeteners - Are They Safe?

To research the health risks Sweet 'N Low and other... Read More

What Everybody Ought to Know About Food Additives

Every day we are bombarded with information about food products... Read More

Essential Tips For Proper Food Combining:

As any student of chemistry will assure you, acids and... Read More

Learn the Basics of a Successful Low Cholesterol Diet

Understanding What a Low Cholesterol Diet isBasically, in order to... Read More