We here in India, consider Food as embodiment of God and giving food as charity is revered socially. Not just in India but a lot of cultures around the world consider it sacred. What we eat or consider eatable can be point of discussion like vegetarian, vegan, or non-vegetarian etc. Irrespective of that, we can understate the importance of food & water. Over the years we have seen rise of many diseases around us and one of the reasons for that is fault with food and the way its consumed.
Food provides us with nutrition that nourishes our body, keeps us fit and healthy. Ayurveda says that “if you eat right food then you don’t need medicine but if your food is wrong then no medicine can help you”. Although in general if we compare the vegetables & fruits with the junk food that we eat these days, Veggies & fruits win hands down.
The Big Question, why has the nutrition reduced in our food?
- The so called modern agricultural methods have removed nutrients from soil where the food is grown, that results in soil nutrition depletion.
- Modern agriculture methods aim for greater yield, pest resistance & climate adaptability have given results but at the cost of nutrition depletion in them at same time.
- Repeated use of same farmland without break does not give the soil enough breathing time.
- Climate change resulting in higher temperatures disturb the nutritional balance in the crop. Rising level of CO2 negatively impacts the nutritional value of the crop.
- Increasing CO2 levels in atmosphere means crops absorb more of it and increase the carbohydrate percentage compared to minerals and vitamins.
- Higher levels of CO2 also increase the toxicity of some crops. Crops produce trace amounts of cyanide to fend of pests but increase in CO2 results in increase the amount cyanide. While concentrated cyanide is fatal but chronic cyanide can result in different health problems.
- Incorrect storage procedures also reduce nutrients by the time vegetables & fruits reach the consumer.
- Eventually how the food is cooked, microwaved & fried also results in further reduction of nutritional value of the food.
Check this article in Indian Express below.
What can be done to address this problem?
- Farmers should integrate organic methods in farming along with modern methods. Use of fertilizers & pesticides should be done as per the recommendations by the manufacturer.
- Wherever possible replace artificial fertilizers & pesticides with traditional & natural ones. Maybe a blend of both.
- We should try to source food from Organic farmers or vendors who sell them. Organic food may seem costly now but in the long run it will save you on medical bills.
- Try to purchase fresh vegetables, prepare them, and consume them on the same day. Even with fruits, although fruits do have a better shelf life in some cases.
- Farmers should get better transport & storage facility, Government must put compliance on food storage & violators should be punished.
Even though nutrition in foods has reduced it does not mean we abandon them instead we have eat them well. One of the problem today we have is, we are eating more processed food than natural hence we are aggravating the problem. Resulting in many kinds of lifestyle diseases are common among everybody. Along with our regular foods we need to use supplements to make up for the loss of nutrients in the food. Just that we should not try to replace food with supplements, no matter what. Also consult a nutrition expert before starting supplements.
This was about the vegetables & fruits but couple of other things are also consumed by us like Milk which is having lot of problems. For that read the second part of this blog post, coming soon