Supplements and super foods these days, I believe, have an important role in health maintenance. Clinically, my observation is that supplements in particular have a positive impact on the health of my patients when suitable.

This may be due a reduction in nutrient content of plant-based foods as a result of soil depletion. Processing and manipulation of food associated with conventional intensive agricultural methods that have been developed primarily to enhance size, growth rate and pest resistance may be robbing us of essential nutrients.

In 2004 the Journal of the American College of Nutrition published a study conducted by the University of Texas, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, which studied the U.S Department of Agricultural nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetable and fruits. The study revealed a “reliable decline” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and Vitamin C.

These results may reflect farming methods here in Australia and suggest why there has been such a dramatic increase in the use of vitamin and mineral supplementation. In order to curb this nutritional catastrophe, it may be helpful to invest in some home grown veggie gardens or head down to your local farmers market and learn more about how your local farmers are addressing soil nutrient deficiencies.

Super foods may also be a valuable addition to balancing nutrition and supporting health. Many so called “recent discoveries” of these highly nutrient and phyto-chemically rich plant based substances often share a long-standing intimate relationship with local communities of which they are native. More often than not it has been indigenous cultures and their traditional uses that have instigated modern research into the potential health benefits of these foods.

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