Are there fewer nutrients in our food?

BBC presenter and qualified doctor Michael Mosely, has raised the serious question of the deteriorating vitamin and mineral content of our food, as reported by this Infosurhoy article. Referencing government reports, Mosely cites that “levels of the mineral selenium in the British diet had fallen dramatically over the past 30 years – not because of soil depletion but due to a change in how we manufacture food.”

With as many as half of all women in the UK and a quarter of all men thought to be deficient in selenium, a mineral important for the function of the immune system and many other bodily functions, this is a real cause for concern. It’s thought that crops aren’t able to take up the same amount of nutrients they used to because they are grown at a faster rate to cope with consumer demand, leading to our food lacking in nutritional value.

Mosely is quick to reiterate that fruits and vegetables are still an excellent source of most vitamins and minerals but it’s important to recognise the signs of a vitamin or mineral deficiency before it becomes a lasting health issue.

The role of plant-based metabolites in weight management

According to recent research, as published by NutraIngredients USA, metabolites, which are produced when the gut bacteria digests food, could have great implications for health. One study, referenced in the research, suggests that turmeric metabolites could assist with weight management after 60 subjects were able to burn 739.3Kcal per day after consumption in a 4-week trial.

Another study showed that turmeric metabolites could also have a role in supporting the liver through reversing fatty liver symptoms by increasing the Fiaf gene expression.

It is thought that metabolites benefit the body by boosting the gut microbiota, which in itself is linked to several health benefits.

Speaking of the findings, Dr Celine Klotz said, “the health of the microbiota is related to your whole metabolism. So if your microbiota is not balanced, it is going to affect your brain, your skin, your bones, muscles.”

Walnuts may slow the rate of cognitive decline

Following on from a previous Nutrition news article, which reported on the positive impact of walnuts on gut and heart health, a more recent study, reported by Science Daily has touted the benefits of walnuts on cognitive health.

Following a two year study, researchers believe that walnuts could be beneficial in slowing cognitive decline in at-risk elderly. In those with a lower baseline neuropsychological test scores, the study found that there was a positive impact on slowing cognitive decline. It is thought that this is due to the omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols in walnuts, which are thought to counteract oxidative stress and inflammation.

Speaking of the results of the study, Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Loma Linda University School of Public Health said, “While this was a minor result, it could lead to better outcomes when conducted over longer periods of time, “ and “Further investigation is definitely warranted based on our findings, especially for disadvantaged populations, who may have the most to gain from incorporating walnuts and other nuts into their diet.”

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.