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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


MORE RESOURCES:

USDA.gov (press release) (blog)

National Nutrition Month: Raising a Healthier Generation through Diet, Education
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Pulse

Distorting Nutrition Facts to Generate Buzz
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In mid-February, the government released a scientific report that will shape its 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Think of it as America's basic nutrition policy. Most people who read the report would have viewed it as a snore; not much has changed.
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New site gives MRE nutrition facts
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What about the nutrition value of an entire Pork Sausage Patty, Maple, meal? This information is readily available on the packaging of combat rations. But a new online database lets troops get that information before they get into the field. The Combat ...



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Quinn on Nutrition: Multiple choices from 2015 Dietary Guidelines
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Every five years, this esteemed group of nutrition professionals convenes to review the findings from current nutrition research. Based on the evidence at hand, these advisors makes recommendations out of which will become the 2015 Dietary Guidelines ...
Nutrition Panel Cracks Down on SugarKOLO
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NOLA.com

LSU nutrition center groundbreaking delayed
NOLA.com
The 22,500 sq. ft. nutrition center, scheduled to be completed by April 1, 2016, on the site of old Alex Box Stadium, will provide LSU athletes with healthy meals, eating habits and how to prepare the food themselves. Athletes currently dine in campus ...
Construction of nutrition center for LSU athletes delayedBellingham Herald

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Managing diabetes through nutrition and exercise
myfox8.com
HIGH POINT, N.C. — Proper diet and regular exercise play integral roles in treating and managing diabetes. A healthy diet paired with exercise and proper medication management can significantly improve the quality of life of individuals living with ...



School lunches part of nutrition conference discussion
KXAN.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) — Parents, what your child eats at school will be part of a discussion Tuesday in Washington. Nutritionists from around the country are meeting for their annual conference on school nutrition. They are calling for a change in ...



Huffington Post

What Nutrition Experts Eat On Vacation
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If you're a healthy eater who practices portion control, you know a vacation can put a dent in your healthy lifestyle. Whether you're kicking back and relaxing for a week or getting to know a new city, counting calories doesn't exactly sound appealing ...

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