Every day, we eat varying kinds of foods so that we can let our body absorb different nutrients. So naturally, when we eat our kale and broccoli, we will assume that we are eating healthily and doing well with our nutrient intake.
Is that really the case?
Well, it depends.
For vegetables, the nutrients of the plants will depend on the quality of the soil, purity of the water used, air pollution where it is grown, as well as additives like pesticides.
For meat, the nutritional quality of the meat will depend on how the animal is raised (caged vs free roam), feed, growth hormones or antibiotics used or not and so on.
For fish, a similar concept – farmed vs wild caught, water quality, feed, antibiotics used and so on.
You get the idea.
When you buy an organic broccoli from Australia, you can truly taste the natural sweetness of the vegetable. Crack an egg where the chicken has been fed rice (quite common in Japan) for example, the yolk is very intense in colour and taste, and delicious for cooking and baking). On the other hand, buying farmed prawns from Vietnam will likely need a curry to cover the “petroleum” taste from the water the prawns are raised in.
Humans have unfortunately been tempering with our foods for decades, compromising nutrient and quality for quantity and price. The corners cut, sadly, do come back to haunt us. Raising fish in polluted waters mean we will directly be ingesting the chemicals and bacteria that exist. Eating vegetables that have been heavily genetically modified (like corn, soy and wheat) means that our body cannot recognize this food we are digesting. Eating beef from grain-fed cows (most commonly available form of beef these days), which is not the most natural feed source (weren’t we raised to know that cows eat grass only?) will mean we are indirectly intaking a lot of genetically modified products (feed), as well as causing a major environmental hazard (the cows can’t ingest the grains and so its “output” cannot be right either).
The same logic applies to the supplements we take. (For the purpose of this blog, we will just focus on the form of the supplement.) If our body is lacking any nutrients, we will need to supplement it. The best option is food derived supplements. Take vitamin C, for example. Many people, including myself, take it on a daily basis. What you may not realise is that not all vitamin C out there is made the same. Most vitamin C products out there are synthetically made. You can further break this down by sub-dividing into synthetic C and ester-C (latter less acidic). Between these 2, ester-C will be a better option for the body as it’s easier for the stomach to digest and absorb. The best kind will be food-derived vitamin C options. My recent go-to is camu camu powder. It is a high source of vitamin C and anti-oxidants. If you find taking powder an inconvenience, there are brands that offer food derived supplements in capsule forms.
In this blog, we have highlighted for you the importance of caring about the nutritional value of your food. So, next time you go shopping, read the package / label, and feed your body with what it wants to eat.
We will write a separate blog about supplements and their benefits.