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Nutrition & Dietics, in the 21st Century – by Anusha Sareen

21st Century Nutrition is an ever changing current of possibilities – where one moment produce is a superfood, the shelves are over stocked and everyone is a raving fan…to the next moment where its pH suggests a reduced intake is the way to go. The nutritional value of ingredients is constantly fluctuating, from research developments, to genetic modifications, and each individual’s unique response. We all have our own tips & tricks to our routines, some of which I will share with you in this article!
Nutrition is a key element of our day-to-day lives, and as a relatively modern module in science we are continually learning about essential vitamin & minerals to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Malnutrition is an issue that affects both the undernourished to the obese, and often the majority of people have deficiencies whether they are aware or not!
Vitamin deficiencies was a revelation that was stumbled upon accidentally; like many discoveries. In 1941, the national governing bodies created the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDAs) to act as a guideline for the public – avoiding disease and deficiencies during times of war and food shortage. Since this point, we have continued to develop our understanding of nutritional effects on the body. It was the higher developed countries that managed to implement cheaper processing methods to increase nutritional value of low quality foods; however this came hand in hand with increased dietary fats and sugars.
There has been a lot of speculation regarding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), whether they are beneficial or actually just visually attractive with lower nutritional value… it is the manipulation of genes per organism, where certain attributes are attained and added to create a specific variety within the farming industry. It includes sizes, vitamin content and also combats oxidation! The drawbacks, however, could be disastrous – creating super bugs, allergenic properties and also some crops have been noted with a lower nutritional value. Unfortunately due to the young shelf-life of GMOs, we are unable to draw solid conclusions at this stage and only time will tell – it is important to study our personal response to daily diets and work from there.
As I have grown older (and wiser!), my body has developed its sensitivities – especially in regard to my diet. I have many tell-tale signs that indicate I have a deficiency or am malnourished, by reading these signs and being self-aware, I am able to combat these issues near immediately! For example, my water intake levels, if it drops below a certain point of hydration, my body reacts with a headache. I can solve this within 10minutes of rehydrating myself!
1. Water intake – this varies on your body type, your exercise levels, and the weather – so just judge it and alter to suit you! 2. Fruit & Vegetables vegetables vegetables!!! If you are not getting enough, make it into a mid-morning smoothie – the precious nutritional value in vegetables, plus the sugar & vitamins in fruit are crucial! 3. Check your ingredients!!! Ever had a look at the back of a product packaging and not understood half the ingredients? Probably because they’re mostly chemicals to enhance and
maintain the processed nature. Avoid overly processed foods and try to source the products in their simplest form. 4. Organics – yes they are a little pricier but rightly so! These are non-GMO produce, with no pesticides and thus naturally grown. If your budget permits, then prioritise your health over that designer bag. 5. Dairy & Meat – the industry is full of chemicals, genetic enhancers, and all sorts of unknown variables. Unless you source locally, or have your research set in stone, meat & dairy industries are made for mass production – corners are cut, the process is quite gruesome; these animals are bred purely for our exploitation. Science has proven we can live healthy lives without having to support the animal farming industry. Try going vegan for 1-day a week and see how much cleaner your body feels!
To summarise, our understanding of nutrition has come a long way; as an area that has under 100years worth of documented study, we can only judge the past century.
“We cannot make history, history makes us” Nelson Mandela.
We will only begin to learn in the next decade or so, the implications of our modern day intense processing structures. Our ancestors had survived on simple diets and there are many herbal remedies passed on through these generations. Although, prevention is better than cure and having produce made to withstand infections, with higher nutritional value is an asset to our groceries. If it’s any lesson, maybe it is better that we stick to our traditional methods of nutrition, rather than creating new genetic produce when we really have no guess as to how our futures will pan out.
(Stay tuned for Anusha Sareen’s new vegan recipe book out in 2019 “V Kind & Dined”)