This article has been researched and written by Arelang Naturals® in-house writers.
Nutrition in Human Beings
Our body needs essential nutrition through nutrients and vitamins to help it survive, protect and sustain itself for the long haul. For the most part, all of us get macronutrients from the foods that we eat. These are your carbs, proteins, fibre, water and fats. But what we don’t end up getting and which is very very essential for our bodies are the micronutrients. And the deficiencies of this essential nutrition in our diets can lead to critical illnesses and lifestyle diseases that are otherwise totally avoidable. Fragile nails, falling hair, bad skin, skin break outs, bad PMS, PCOD and high stress are just the tip of the iceberg. (Psst. we have written a whole blog about this, check it out here.)
So what are micronutrients?
Micronutrients are nutrients that are required by the body in lesser amounts for its growth and development. They play a major role in the metabolic activities of the body. These include vitamins and minerals. Since our body cannot produce vitamins and minerals, they are taken externally from different food products. The micronutrient content for every food is different; therefore, it is advisable to eat varieties of food for enough vitamin and mineral consumption. These micronutrients help in preventing and fighting certain diseases. However, they should be taken in adequate quantities: excess intake or inadequate intake results in several disorders such as visual impairment, mental retardation, etc.
Getting into healthy habits today; salads, fruits, replacing meals and fad diets, may not entirely solve or reverse the damage already done to our bodies. Here’s why:
It is true that fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. A landmark study by the University of Texas in December 2004, where they studied nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits on essential nutrition in human beings. They found considerable declines in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past 50 years
Let’s wind the clock back in time to really understand what we are talking about. The fruits and vegetables you bring home now don't look anything like their ancestors from thousands of years ago. Most of them don't even taste the same! You can call this genetic modification or selective breeding but we humans have been tweaking the genetics of our foods for many many years to make them bigger, tastier and more attractive. As a result, diluting the rich nutrients they originally came with.
For instance the early Watermelons were paler, with less flesh and more seeds, in comparison to the modern watermelons that come seedless with red juicy pulp, thin rinds, some have even been modified to fit the stacking shelves perfectly in square shapes. Bananas used to be thin, long with okra like pods on the inside - now bred to produce seedless fruit. Carrots had a thin forked root in off white or purple colour, which by the way took 2 long years to grow. Apples were smaller and sour fruits and the Tomatoes were tiny green or yellow fruits, nicknamed the ‘poison apple’ as many had died earlier after eating it. Even the beautiful Aubergine, used to be called the ‘eggplant’ after their brownish-white and round appearance, resembling eggs growing on a tree. And these are just a few examples where we can see a marked physical difference created from genetic modification.
But our ancients knew best. And also had access to to the different types of nutrients and the best of them too, at least before all the genetic tweaking started. Did you know that you now need to eat approximately 8-10 oranges a day to get all the vitamins and nutrients that your grandparents would get from 1 orange back in their time? But what really happened? How did we get here? The answers are staring us in the face:
Soil Depletion ~ Genetic Modification of Seeds ~ Insecticides and pesticides ~ Artificial Hormones to Boost Growth ~ Picking Fruits and Vegetables Before they are Fully Ripe ~ Excess Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere.
Too much of CO₂ is like empty calories for plants. They gorge on this excess to grow bigger and faster, consequently getting larger but less nutrient-packed. All these factors contributed to depletion of the nutrients in our daily produce, making our food less nutritious, robbing crops of vitamins that are essential for human development.
This is still before they even reach our homes. Then the cooking process is a whole different story. The heat, the refrigeration, the microwaving – the list is endless and the micronutrients almost nil.
So, given our current lifestyles and the different types of nutrients that have already been depleted from the food that we eat, it has become ever so important to supplement with the right quantity and quality of products. Here’s where phytonutrients come in. Plant foods contain thousands of natural chemicals - called phytonutrients or phytochemicals. "Phyto" refers to the Greek word for plant.
Plant-based Bioactives are specific phytonutrients that have biological activities, essential nutrition and possess potent health benefits for humans that the very fruit or vegetable would deliver. These bioactives are isolated from the phytonutrients through a process called extraction. The bioactives are extracted from the plants depending on the specific purpose they are required for. Each plant contains millions of phytochemicals having innumerable bioactives. Through the extraction process the smallest most potent part of the plant can be isolated for use in supplements. And for most cases the more bitter the extract the greater the potency of the extract!
We use these bioactives in creating our supplements, so we can replenish and rekindle your body with all that it needs. Our formulations use the right quantity, not too much, not too little, making our formulation not only extremely bioavailable to your body, but also allows your body to absorb it and utilize it though its functions. We have made a whole section here to explain this in more detail.
With all that said, do remember that while nothing can ever replace the essential nutrition that wholesome foods, fresh fruits and vegetables can bring to you, we still need the essential micronutrients just as much to sustain and protect our cells and allow them to perform their functions for the body. So love yourself and give your body the love that it needs.