Nutrients: Our Food Choices Matter
Many health guru’s claim American soil is seriously depleted of nutrients and will try to sell you a whole plethora of supplements to compensate for this perceived deficiency. However California, Texas, Florida, Washington, Oregon and several other states still have rich, fertile land … that produces most of our vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and seeds. If you wish to check this … there are numerous reports produced by the US government which provide analyses obtained from a variety of supermarkets across the country. These show that the produce grown in the United States is nutrient rich and high in trace minerals, especially beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
Thankfully, by eating a diet with a wide variety of natural plant foods, from a variety of soils, the threat of nutritional deficiency merely as a result of soil inadequacy is virtually eliminated. Americans are not nutrient-deficient because of depleted soil … they are nutrient-deficient because they do not eat a sufficient quantity of fresh produce. Over 90 percent of the calories consumed by Americans come from refined foods or animal products. With such a small percentage of our diet consisting of unrefined plant foods, how could we not become nutrient- deficient? Since more than 40 percent of the calories in the American diet are derived from sugar or refined grains, both of which are nutrient- depleted, Americans are severely malnourished. Refined sugars cause us to be malnourished in direct proportion to how much we consume them . They are partially to blame for the high cancer and heart attack rates seen in America. If we allow ourselves and our children to utilize sugar, white- flour products, and oil to supply the majority of their calories, (as most American families do), we shall be condemning ourselves to a lifetime of sickness, medical problems, and a premature death.
Refined sugars include table sugar (sucrose), milk sugar (lactose), honey, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, corn sweeteners, and fruit juice concentrates. Even the bottled and boxed fruit juices that many children drink are a poor food; with no significant nutrient density, they lead to obesity and disease. Processed apple juice, which is not far from sugar water in its nutrient score, accounts for almost 50 percent of all fruit servings consumed by preschoolers. For example, apple juice contains none of the vitamin C originally present in the whole apple. Oranges make the most nutritious juice, but even orange juice can’t compare with the original orange. In citrus fruits, most of the anti-cancer compounds are present in the membranes and pulp, which are removed in processing juice. Those cardboard containers of orange juice contain less than 10 percent of the vitamin C present in an orange and even less of the fiber and phytochemicals. Juice is not fruit, and pre-packaged juices do not contain even one-tenth of the nutrients present in fresh fruit.
Processed orange juice contains less than 10% of the vitamin C present in a real orange.
Cookies, jams, and other processed foods (even those from the health-food store) sweetened with “fruit juice” sound healthier but are just as bad as white-sugar products. When fruit juice is concentrated and used as a sweetener, the healthy nutritional components are stripped away — what’s left is plain sugar. To your body, there is not much difference between refined sugar, fruit juice sweeteners, honey, fruit juice concentrate, or any other concentrated sweetener. Our sweet tooth has been put there by our creator to have us enjoy and consume real fruit, not some imitation. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and other fresh fruit and vegetable juices are relatively healthy foods that contain the majority of the original vitamins and minerals. But the sweet fruit juices and even carrot juice should still be used only moderately, as they still contain a high concentration of sugar calories and no fiber.
You may want to use these juices as part of salad dressings and other dishes rather than alone as a drink. Fresh fruits and even dried fruits do contain an assortment of protective nutrients and phytochemicals, so stick with the real thing. White or “enriched” rice is just as bad as white bread and pasta. It is nutritionally bankrupt . Refining the rice removes the same important factors: fiber, minerals, phytochemicals, and vitamin E. So, when you eat grains, eat whole grains. Refining foods removes so much nutrition that the US government requires that a few synthetic vitamins and minerals be added back. Such foods are labelled as enriched or fortified. Whenever you see those words on a package, it means “important nutrients are missing”! Refining foods lowers the amount of hundreds of known nutrients, yet usually only five to ten are added back by fortification. As a general rule of thumb : the closer we eat foods to their natural state, the healthier the food.
Just because a food is called “whole grain” does not make it a good food. Many whole-grain cold cereals are so processed that they do not have a significant fiber per serving ratio and have lost most of their nutritional value. Eating fragmented and unbalanced foods causes many problems, especially for those trying to lose weight. Whole wheat that is finely ground is absorbed into the bloodstream fairly rapidly and should not be considered as wholesome as more coarsely ground and grittier whole grains. The rapid rise of glucose triggers fat storage hormones . Because the more coarsely ground grains are absorbed more slowly, they curtail our appetite better.Whole-grain hot cereals are less processed than cold cereals and come up with better nutritional scores. Unlike eating whole-grain foods, ingesting processed foods can subtract nutrients and actually create nutritional deficiencies, as the body utilizes nutrients to digest and assimilate food. If the mineral demands of digestion and assimilation are greater than the nutrient’s supplied by the food, we may end up with a deficit — a drain on our nutrient reserve funds. For most of their lives, the diets of many American adults and children are severely deficient in plant-derived nutrients. Our bodies are not immune to immutable biological laws that govern cellular function. Given enough time, disease will develop. Even borderline deficiencies can result in various subtle defects in human health, leading to anxiety, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and poor eyesight, to name a few.