The Nutritional Content of Food
The nutritional content of food may be less then we think. Several factors or aspects that strip the nutritional content of food in our daily diet are:
Chemical changes: Oxidation and fermentation may cause foods to deteriorate. For instance, oxidation can destroy vitamins A and C.
Heat: Meat, fish, poultry, some fruits and vegetables, raw milk, and many other products can become inedible in less than a day at room temperature.
Cold: "Chill injury" and "freezer burn" can lead to nutrient destruction. So, too, can repeated freezing and thawing.
Light: Light can spur the destruction of nutrients, especially riboflavin, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and can induce the oxidation of fats.
Irradiation: Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation in order to disinfect, sanitize, sterilize, or preserve food. This technique kills micro-organisms but can inactivate enzymes which occur naturally in diet.
Moisture: Damp storage conditions can hasten the destruction of nutrients.
Natural enzymes: The same enzymatic reaction that causes fruits and vegetables to ripen will continue to the point that produce will spoil.
Micro organisms: Bacteria, yeast, and molds lessen the nutritional value of our foods.
Macro organisms: Insects, parasites, and rodents can destroy our food.
Physical stress: Meal preparation may include peeling, cutting, dicing, and shredding - all of which can reduce nutrient content.
Time: Fresh corn and peas, for example, lose nutritional value within hours of harvest. If fresh vegetables sat in the crisper for a week they would be completely stripped of all nutritional value. We would be better off eating frozen or even canned vegetables for dinner!
Harvest: Farmers frequently harvest produce before it's ripe, this steals the time plants require to attain the nutritional density and diversity that develop with maturity. The nutritional content of food is doomed before it even has a chance to grow. Moreover, air and water pollutants, such as smog, insecticides and herbicides, can also act as chemical antagonists and rob fruits and vegetables of some of their nutritional value.
All these factors contribute to a lack in the nutritional content of the food that we eat. Are we obtaining all the nutrients that our body needs? Supplementation is an optional way to obtain what is missing in our diets.
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