There are some things people cannot live without. These necessities are found in fresh, organically-grown food. Because food produced for the mass market may not be as wholesome as that grown or raised at home, taking targeted nutrients is now recommended by many health practitioners. “What nutrients does my body need?” often refers to vitamins, minerals, and other supplements.
Researchers have proved that modern food supplies are less nutritious than those enjoyed by former generations. Mono-cropping, factory farming, and depletion of soils has lowered the nutritional value, as does long-term storage and transport of foods. The use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers has also made our food less wholesome and our health requirements higher.
Basic needs for the human body are fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, with a plentiful supply of water to give the body the fluids needed for proper digestion and utilization of these elements. Unfortunately, not all foods provide adequate nutrition, even if the gross amount of calories ingested is sufficient.
Fats, for instance, are often regarded as evils, but many are vital to development and energy production. Many important fats go rancid quickly, and all can be harmed by high heat during processing; good fats can turn into harmful toxins. Manufacturers routinely remove important elements like Omega-3 fatty acids, which shorten shelf life, and use altered fats to restore taste and texture. For this reason, health experts advise supplementation of essential fatty acids.
Many people in even affluent societies suffer from a lack of quality protein. People may limit meat, dairy, and eggs for weight-control purposes or because they have allergies. These important protein sources should be replaced by fish or high-protein vegetables like whole grains and greens. However, many lack the knowledge to plan a balanced diet and in consequence suffer from fatigue, a loss of mental acuity, brittle nails and hair, and other results of dietary insufficiency.
Carbohydrates are easy to get, since the store shelves are full of sugary foods, baked goods, candy bars, and breads. However, refined foods usually will not provide quality carbohydrates that the body can process easily and burn for sustained energy. Instead, these white flour and sugar products are hard to digest, cause undue weight gain, contribute to disorders like glucose intolerance and diabetes, and drain energy rather than producing it. Called ’empty calorie’ foods, refined carbohydrates should be replaced by whole-grain products, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
Fats are another category that many people don’t understand. There are nutrients in fish oils, for example, that cannot be found in any other food. These fats are easily destroyed by processing and can contain environmental pollutants if not taken from cold-water, deep-sea fish. Careful processing and testing is needed to ensure that supplemental fats from fish oil are pure and undamaged.
Organic, whole foods should be the basis of the daily diet, while supplements from reputable manufacturers can provide for gaps in nutrition caused by lack of time or access to fresh, locally-grown foods. Refined carbohydrates should be eliminated if health is to be achieved, maintained, or restored.