We don’t need to take supplements because we can get all the nutrition we need from our diets
Sound familiar? Whilst logical and true if we were living in a utopian world, there are so many factors working against this being realistic today. The following outlines 10 of these common challenges

1. Low / compromised nutrient levels in soil.

Decades of intensive agriculture and overwork can deplete soil nutrient levels. Whilst macro nutrients are usually replaced, the trace and living elements within the soil are often ignored.

2. Shift from seasonal diets

The movement away from eating seasonal foods that are harvested at the peak of their freshness and usually contain more vitamins and antioxidants has been a gradual one over many decades. In comparison, out-of-season foods have been picked early and stored. The composition of in-season foods is also naturally directed to our energy and nutrient requirements of that season and this is being altered.

3. Poor digestion

Even when our food intake is well-balanced, compromised digestion can limit your body's uptake of vitamins, minerals and key phytonutrients. Some common causes of poor digestion include; not chewing well and eating too fast. Both of these result in ‘larger than normal food’ particle size, too large to allow complete action of digestive enzymes. Drinking too much with the meal also has the effect of diluting the action of digestive enzymes.

4. Alcohol

Whilst the dangers of excess alcohol are well understood, it should also be noted that for the body to metabolise alcohol it requires the presence of a multitude of vital nutrients including B-group vitamins. This makes the task of ‘diet-only’ sourced vitamins more difficult to maintain.

5. Smoking & pollution

Cigarette smoke and other pollutants have a direct impact on nutrient levels. Vitamin C is called upon to counter the associated free-radicals in a way that would be difficult to counter through dietary modification alone. Whilst gross vitamin deficiency diseases such as scurvy are thankfully less common, sub-acute deficiencies can result in immune and other challenges for the body if these nutrients aren’t replenished adequately.

6. Diet programs

Diets that miss out on whole food groups can be seriously lacking in vitamins. Even the popular low fat diets, if taken to an extreme, can be deficient in the fat-soluble vitamins: A, D and E. Vegetarian diets, which exclude meat and other animal sources, must also be very carefully planned to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency, which may lead to pernicious anaemia.

7. Overcooking

Long cooking or reheating of meat and vegetables can destroy heat sensitive vitamins such as the B-group, C and E. Boiling vegetables leaches out the water-soluble vitamins B-group and C as well as many minerals.

8. Fast foods

Wholegrains naturally contain many of the nutrients (b-group vitamins etc) to allow us to fully break them down as an energy source. But when we replace wholegrains with highly refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white flour and white rice, we need to supply the nutrients from other sources.

9. Additional nutrition demands

Athletes, pregnancy, stress and living in polluted environments are just some of the reasons than can place additional nutritional demands on the body beyond what a ‘normal’ healthy diet may be able to deliver.

10. Diet / lifestyle Diversity

Whilst the health and nutritional benefits of key traditional foods is now well known, time pressures and a desire for dietary diversity can mean we don’t eat them every day. Taking garlic as the example, we may well be enjoying the cardiovascular and immune health benefits eating garlic can provide if ingested regularly, so the insurance / convenience of a daily garlic supplement can make good health sense.

Twenty years ago, Nick Diamantopoulos envisioned that Australians would never have to buy imported garlic again.  

Fed up with the poor quality of Chinese garlic in particular, the chief executive of Australian Garlic Producers embarked on a project to stock Australian supermarket shelves with home-grown bulbs. 

"The only problem was the Australian garlic season started around Christmas and finished later in summer," says Diamantopoulos. Come autumn, suppliers had to source their garlic from Argentina, Mexico, Spain and China.  

For an all-Australian supply, the garlic lover needed to bring the start of the season forward and push the end of harvest back.  

"I had to find garlic varieties that could grow around the different climates of Australia, from the tropics in the north to the cold climate of the south," he says. 

Today, Diamantopoulos' dream has been realised. The first Australian-grown garlic of the season was harvested in September on a farm near Robinvale on the Murray River.  

The bulbs come from a tropical variety sourced from Senegal, a discovery made while the former industrial chemist was on a global quest that took him from Melbourne's eastern suburbs to Syria, and to the peaks of the Andes. 

"In Peru I found varieties that had not changed in the 500 years since they were introduced by Spanish conquistadors," he says. Over the past two decades, Diamantopoulos has accumulated 292 different varieties of garlic, importing many through quarantine and breeding others locally. 

Suitable garlic-growing sites have been selected all over Australia, with the most southern in cold, fertile volcanic country near Ballarat.  

The most northerly is at Ali Curung,  about 400 kilometres north of Alice Springs where garlic is grown and harvested by the local Indigenous community. However, the extent of commercial garlic harvest could be pushed another 850 kilometres north if trials in the mango-growing region around Katherine are successful.  

Diamantopoulos' last garlic will be pulled from the earth in March, much of it set to be cured at his processing facility near Mildura in north-west Victoria. "Once cured, garlic will keep," he says. "If stored correctly, it will still be in excellent condition in six months' time."  

The bulbs will be trucked to retailers such as Coles and Woolworths over winter, completing Diamantopoulos' decades-long ambition to fill supermarket shelves with Australian garlic. He says Australia is now the only country with a continuous supply of fresh, local bulbs. 

"My Greek mother makes the best skordalia [garlic and potato dip] in the world," he says.  

"She says the garlic is now good enough to make it year-round. The taste has been worth all the effort."  

Orginal source: https://www.goodfood.com.au/eat-out/news/australias-garlic-king-eliminates-the-need-for-imported-chinese-bulbs-20201120-h1sbvd 

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