Eating fresh local food is critical to maintaining great health. With the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables dropping soon after harvest, how can we mitigate this? Nutrient loss is minimized by cold storage of produce, but even in refrigeration, the drop continues. Imagine how depleted of valuable nutrients your produce is when your food has sometimes traveled 2,500 miles before it even gets to the store! Having access to eat fresh, local food is a much better choice.
Most of today’s consumers want to know where their food comes from. According to Choice.com.au’s survey, knowing the origin of food is as important as price. The government in Australia is currently releasing labels that identify the country of origin for products, but that may not answer all of a consumer’s questions. As to the major grocers in Australia and their commitment to offering Australian or local fruits and veggies, here are their official statements:
- Cole’s has made a few commitments to source parts of their frozen veggies from Aussie farmers via contracts with Simplot and Ardmona.
- Woolworth’s has a similar commitment, has contracts with Simplot and Ardmona, and they do not use any genetically modified foods in their own brands.
- According to Choice.com.au’s Rachel Clemons, Aldi’s engages in a bit of double-speak by saying that while they try to source locally, if the quantity or quality is not available locally, they import from overseas.
The Top 10 Nutritional Elements Necessary For Peak Performance
Whether you are a desk jockey or an athlete, you are what you eat. What you eat determines how well you perform on sedentary tasks as well as athletic tasks. Our brains and our bodies need specific nutrients in order to function. Our intellectual abilities, energy level, brute strength, motivation, and health all rely on what we put in our mouths.
Jennifer Di Noia, PhD, a researcher from William Patterson University in New Jersey, USA, ranked the 17 nutrients in foods that are critically important for your health. Here are the top ten nutrients from her study and what they can do to help you supercharge your health:
1. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys and many other organs to work properly in the body. Sources include bananas, avocados, almonds, peanuts, citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, and potatoes.
2. Calcium is important for bones and teeth, but did you know it also helps with the following?
- Conduction of nerve signals
- Release of hormones
- Making your muscles contract
- Ensuring that your blood vessels function properly
- Helping your blood clot
Broccoli is a dynamite veggie source of calcium!
3. Riboflavin, or B2, helps convert carbs to sugar that is usable by the body for energy. Vegetable sources are soybeans, edamame, mushrooms, broccoli and avocados.
4. Zinc is a powerhouse of goodness for the body by:
- Ensuring optimal functioning of the digestive system and the immune system
- Controling diabetes
- Enhancing energy metabolism
- Reducing acne and aiding in wound healing
- Aiding in pregnancies, eczema and hair care
- Being a major factor in weight loss
- Helping prevent night blindness
- Being a big player in cold care
- Helping with appetite loss by returning sense of taste and smell
- Aiding in eye care
- Helping with protein synthesis.
Veggie sources for zinc are turnips, pumpkin seeds, oats, peas, and ginger root.
5. Vitamin B12 is a worthy nutritional component as it:
- Helps cell maintenance and the formation of new DNA
- Offers relief from fatigue
- Helps lower cholesterol
- Helps ward off sickle cell disorder and other anemias, Alzheimer’s, and breast cancer.
Sources for B12 include only animal products such as beef liver, salmon, tuna, chicken and milk and milk products.
6. Vitamin E, which new studies show many of us are deficient in, offers:
- Reduced incidences of cataracts
- The ability to help fight off cancer
- Help in avoiding heart disease and other cardiovascular problems
- Improved metabolism and immune system
- Protection for your cells from the damage caused by free radicals
- Increased stamina and improved vitality.
Best veggie sources for Vitamin E are spinach and beet greens, with pumpkin, asparagus and red peppers offing some also. Sunflower seeds and almonds are the highest in Vitamin E.
7. Iron’s benefits to the body are not always fully understood, as it is an absolutely essential component in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the brain and body. Iron is better known for the things that happen when we are deficient in it:
- Fatigue and body weakness
- Inability to perform normal functions at peak performance levels
- Skin ailments and brittle nails
- Inability of the enzyme processes in the body to function.
Good sources of iron in the veggie family are lentils, peas, soy beans, leafy green veggies, spinach, turnips, broccoli, sprouts, and dried fruits. Eating an orange or another citrus fruit (Vitamin C) with an iron source helps the body assimilate the iron better.
8. Niacin, or B3, is an amazing vitamin that:
- Helps blood circulation
- Gives you healthy, glowing skin,
- Helps your brain function optimally by boosting memory capacity
- Helps the digestive system absorb enough proteins, carbs, and fats
- Relieves arthritis by relaxing joints
- Reduces schizophrenia
- Lowers and controls cholesterol.
Important sources are the different types of greens. Easy!
9. Vitamin A is not talked about often, but it is quite an important vitamin in that it:
- Helps the body fight infections
- Keeps eyes and skin moist and healthy
- Helps bones develop
- Prevents night blindness.
There are animal-derived sources of Vitamin A. The best veggie sources are sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens.
10. Proteins are the body’s building blocks, and they are a part of almost every function in the body. Good veggie sources are soy products, beans of all kinds, and split peas. Nuts and seeds are also good sources.
The other 7 critical nutrients are fibre, Vitamins B6, C, D and K, Folate, and thiamin.
The Easiest Way to Get Your Critical Nutrients
Local fruits and veggies deliver the most power-packed gifts of nutrients you can get. And speaking of delivering, Ooooby delivers organic and natural produce right to your doorstep weekly or biweekly. Real food from local farmers is so much tastier than the plastic-looking veggies and fruits from the supermarket.
A food box contains whatever is in season, or you can choose your veggies and fruit from what is currently available. Supporting your local community helps the farmers grow more crops, too.
And the best benefit of all is that you will be supercharging your health by eating fresh local food! See how it works, and try out a box today!