Even though you are eating a healthy and balanced diet, you may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals. Modern intensive agricultural methods have decreased the nutrients in fruits and vegetables today compared to decades ago.
Most experts tell us to eat five pieces of fruits or vegetables – something that should come close to 400g. However, when living in Dubai, chances are that this might not even be enough to give you the vital nutrients that you need.
You probably eat imported fruits and vegetables when living in Dubai. Chances are; they were picked before ripening and stored cold and transported for longer periods of time before reaching the Middle East. Fruits and vegetables picked immature ripens without sun and heat, leaving them with fewer vitamins and vegetables compared to if ripened on the plant.
If left on the plant the fruit and vegetables are ripening by the internal organic processes, and with the help of the sun and heat. If they are picked unripe, they are left to ripen in a cold and dark container on the way across the Indian Ocean. They are left without the natural nourishment from the sun and soil. Compared to sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, the ones picked unripe contain fewer vitamins and vegetables.
After picking, any fruit and vegetable start the process called respiration. In this process, organic material and vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and enzymes are lost via loss of moisture.
In vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, peas, spinach and sweet corn the breakdown of organic material and nutrients happens quickly. They will lose nutrition and flavor quicker than apples, garlic or onions.
The longer produce is stored before consumption, the more nutrients are lost. To give you an idea: A study was done on spinach, showing that the spinach lost more than 50 percent of the folate (a specific Vitamin B) after cold storage for eight days. After the eight days even more was lost. Consider that when thinking of how long our food travels from abroad before reaching your plate in Dubai!
Vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. Make sure to buy fresh, local produce if available. Always know when, where and how your food is made. And ask if it does not say on the label. Dependent on the answer, you might want to consider eating more than ‘5 a day’ to give your body what it really needs.
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Your body rely on you to get vital nutrients from the food you eat. Your body takes care of millions of biological processes every day. Each process depends on certain components and building blocks - which you can only get from fresh, nutritious food, prepared in the right way.
Processed and industrialised prepared food does not give your body what it needs. It is not real food - it cannot give your body fuel to the millions of vital processes to function optimally. Poor quality food does not feed your body well - it only fills your stomach!