Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Broad Definition of Nutrition: Nutrition is more than ingredients Meg Smart DVM, PhD

Go to your backyard or the park and pick up a handful of soil, smell it,  run it through your fingers even taste , fell the texture and check the moisture. If each reader did this and then submitted their findings to me to summarize; the results in most cases would be  significantly different depending on your location.This close scrutiny of the soils still does not tell you the soil pH, nutrient content and availability, the amount of fibre and organic matter. As well we will have no idea of how healthy the soil 's microorganisms are. In many cases that soil represents the types of soil  that our food is produced on whether primary crops or as feed for livestock and poultry. But do all these different soils produce crops of similar nutrient value and do  we understand all those factors that influence the nutritional adequacy of the plants grown on soil or do we care?

 Our population has shifted from rural to urban and with this shift we are loosing site of those factors that influence the nutrient content and availability of the foods we eat The urban garden movement whether a community garden, green roof tops or turning lawns into garden plots is keeping the goal towards healthier eating alive. Our farms for animal and crop production are shifting from the family farm which in most cases were a mixed farm of crops and livestock to  large holdings purchased by corporate monies and run as a big business seeking profits; to some the sustainability of the soil is important; to many it is not. 

Numerous properties of the soil will influence the nutrient content of the plants grown on it as well as other factors such moisture, the amount of sunlight, environmental and soil temperature, types of crops, plant maturity, plant growth, to name a few. The availability and quality of water through rain or irrigation is another key factor to successful farming.Even water can have a detrimental effect on the soil and soil fertility through salinization of the soil.  

 But is proper steward ship of our soils were true nutrition begins .  I believe the answer is no!
 Nutrition begins with the the tiny micro organisms that were the first signs of  life on earth. Over millions of years these microorganisms have formed cooperative functional communities which if in proper balance with the environment form an important link between the plant roots, soil fertility, and the nutrient uptake from the  soil. But this is not a simple relationship and many factors can upset the balance. Chemical herbicides and fertilizers can  be major contributors.

This is part of a series of articles on the factors that can have an impart  on  the nutrient content of the food we eat.



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  2. Thank you I appreciate your comments. People look at a carrot and see only a carrot. When I as a nutritionist looks at a carrot, I try to visualize the soil conditions and climatic conditions was grown in, whether it was genetically modified, what chemicals were used to help grow it, how it was picked , washed, stored and transported.

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