The next time you take a bite out of your favourite fruit or vegetable, spare a thought for the soil that helped it grow. Without soil, not only would it fail to grow but we wouldn’t be able to get a number of essential nutrients through our diet, particularly macro- and micro-minerals.
As well as assisting our bodies to perform a vast array of biochemical processes, minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc and chromium are absolutely essential for all twelve body systems including cardiovascular, nervous, immune, endocrine and digestive. In the words of Dr Linus Pauling (two-time Nobel Prize winner): ‘You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency,’ therefore we cannot underestimate their importance for our health.
Unlike vitamins, our bodies cannot produce minerals. We can only get them via the plants that we eat, and our plants can only get them from the soil they grow in. The formation of soil (scientifically known as pedogenesis) is an extremely slow process. So slow in fact that it can take up to anywhere from a few years to 1,000 years to form just one millimetre of soil. Therefore, with our soils under threat due to excessive use of fertilisers, overplanting and poor modern farming practices in order to keep up with ever increasing demand, they are in danger of losing their health benefits faster than they are able to be replaced.
Soil is an incredible bio diverse ecosystem that houses everything from fungi and bacteria to worms and other organisms, all of which rely on each other to survive. Fungi play a crucial role in helping plants absorb certain minerals such as zinc. Zinc is essential for all living organisms however tilling (or mechanical digging used by farmers) is harmful to the fungi therefore disrupting mineral absorption. It is now estimated that nearly half of the world population is zinc deficient as a result of cereal grains, legumes, nuts and seeds being grown in suboptimal soil.
It really is no lie that the nutrient content of our current day vegetables, fruits and whole grains are not the same as they were 50 years ago. The 1992 Earth Summit Report indicated that the mineral content of the world’s farmland soil had decreased dramatically in the last 100 years, with Australia seeing a 55% decline. We can only imagine what it must be like now, 27 years later and with more pressure on farmers than ever before!
With about two thirds of the land we use for agriculture in Australia being subject to depletion of nutrients, erosion, acidification and contamination it’s clear we’re doing a really poor job at looking after our soils. However, just because fruits and vegetables aren’t as nutrient-dense as they used to be, it doesn’t mean that we should avoid them. It just means that we need to ensure that we are consistently topping ourselves up with the essential nutrients we often just can’t seem to get enough of. Especially when life may not allow for the perfect diet and lifestyle.
Whilst the quality of our soils are unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future, the easiest and most effective way to ensure you’re getting everything you need is via a multimineral complex. One that contains a wide range of nutrients in their most bioavailable forms to ensure you are able to absorb them. Good Green Stuff is a great example of this – formulated by independent industry leaders it contains over 75 premium quality ingredients designed to support all 12 body systems. Just one serve includes a potent blend of macro and micro-minerals, vitamins and herbs – as well probiotics, antioxidants and other essential nutrients.
Ultimately, poor soil quality is just the first of many factors affecting our intake and absorption of essential nutrients, including long-distance food travel, increased consumption of processed and genetically modified foods, impaired digestion, and stressful lifestyles that increase our demand for nutrients. If you think your health may be suffering as a result of a deficiency, please contact your health care provider.
This article was written by Nicola Miethke, Clinical Nutritionist, Naturopath and Expert for Nuzest.
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