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“Two ounces of vegetables and two pieces of fruit, then you’ll last a whole lot longer”: for years this was the slogan of the Nutrition Centre. Indeed, there was a time when two ounces of vegetables and two pieces of fruit a day provided you with enough nutrients to stay healthy. But that time is now far behind us. The nutritional value of fruit and vegetables has declined sharply in recent decades. Our food contains far fewer vitamins, minerals and trace elements than before. This is mainly due to the depletion of agricultural land. The addition of all kinds of unnatural substances for preservation, the use of chemicals and the application of artificial fertilisers also leads to the deterioration of the nutritional value of our food.
1. The American Medical Association
2. 1985/1996/2002 Pharmaceutical company Geigy, Food laboraty Karlsruhe/Sanatorium Obertal
You’re what you eat
What we put into our bodies has a direct effect on our health. That in itself is nothing new. But with the decline of nutritional values in our food, it becomes a lot harder to eat healthily or to know at all what you need to eat to stay healthy. TNO has carried out research into the nutritional values of our food today. And what does it turn out to be? Very few people succeed in eating according to the guidelines of healthy food. And that is because even the food we are convinced is healthy does not contain enough vitamins, minerals and trace elements. At present, we would have to eat about five to nine portions of fruit and vegetables a day to get enough nutrients. And then the fruit and vegetables should also be organic and unprocessed.
Food supplements for everyone?
Precisely because it is so difficult to estimate whether we are getting the right and sufficiently good nutrients, many people swallow food supplements. Multivitamins are particularly popular. However, there is a lot of difference between the vitamin products on offer. The cheaper variants are often chemical and poorly absorbable, which means that these vitamins are poorly absorbed by the body or not at all. Furthermore, the effect in the body is less good, because they are artificial and can never match the nutritional values of a plant. Finally, especially the right dosage and combination of specific ingredients is very important if a supplement is to be really effective for you and many cheaper products often fall short of that. Regardless of whether or not you should take vitamin pills and which ones they should be, everyone has a specific vitamin need. For example, men and children have very different needs than women. For women, some vitamins and minerals are extra important for a healthy body. Zinc and vitamin B6, for example, are important for a good hormone balance. Proteins and fibres are important for everyone! Women between twenty and fifty need some extra iron. In addition, all women have to deal with changes in the body, for example during pregnancy and afterwards while breastfeeding, during menstruation and during menopause.
We all need vitamins, minerals, trace elements and other bio-active substances to function properly. As soon as a deficiency occurs, this can cause annoying symptoms. Our diet provides a lot of these substances, but by no means all of them. A little extra is therefore desirable if not much needed. Fortunately, there are many good products on the market that supplement the daily need for nutrients. It is important that you pay attention to your own specific needs.