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Maximum Micronutrition

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Organic whole foods provide all the micronutrients we need to convert carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to forms that our bodies can use for biochemical and metabolic processes. Here's how to make the most of micronutrient vitamins and minerals..

Organic whole foods provide all the micronutrients we need to convert carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to forms that our bodies can use for biochemical and metabolic processes. Here's how to make the most of micronutrient vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin-Rich Vegetables

Increase your intake of water-soluble vitamins (such as B and C) by choosing fresh, good quality plant foods such as green leafy vegetables and seasonal fruit. Combine fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K to activate their nutritional value by melting a bit of organic butter over your carrots or adding a dash of flaxseed oil to your wheatgrass smoothie.

Use traditional cooking techniques such as pre-soaking or sprouting whole grains, beans, and lentils before cooking. Soak grains and beans for at least eight hours at room temperature to increase vitamin availability. For decades, A.S. Sandberg and other food scientists have affirmed that soaking can neutralize anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, which is present in most plant seeds and inhibits absorption of zinc and calcium from food.

Choose Local and Organic

The vitamin content of our fruits and vegetables varies according to farming methods. In 1993 a two-year study sampling fruits and vegetables in the Chicago area suggested significant differences between organic and commercial food. Organic pears, apples, potatoes, and wheat had, on average, 90- percent more nutritional value than similar commercial food and, if sweet corn levels were included, the average difference was more than 2.5 times.

Long-distance transport of foods can also deplete micronutrient levels, as demonstrated in a 2003 Spanish study. The study compared the nutrient value of freshly harvested broccoli plants with those that had been film-wrapped and stored for seven days at 1 C to simulate a maximum period of commercial transport and distribution. Vitamin C levels were unchanged, but other nutrient values were reduced by as much as 75 percent.

For maximum micronutrient content, choose local, organic foods and support local farmers' markets. Certified organic farms, particularly those identified as biodynamic (using only organic fertilizers), emphasize composting and crop rotation to maximize soil mineral balance. The diverse foods they produce are bursting with the micronutrients we need for good health.

Increase Your Mineral Intake

Minerals help to structure our body tissues, bones, and blood, regulate body fluids, and maintain balanced pH. To enhance your intake of these micronutrients:

  • Choose unrefined whole (grey) salt, rather than commercial table, iodized, kosher, and rock salts, to access its natural mineral content of iodine, calcium, magnesium, sulphur, and potassium.
  • Sea vegetables such as seaweed also contain important minerals such as calcium, iodine, and iron in quantities rarely found in land plants. Try adding one-in (2.5-cm) squares of kelp or kombu to bean and lentil dishes. Sprinkle dulse on savoury meals or prepare Japanese-style salads with wakame seaweed.
  • Choose drinking water that contains trace minerals rather than water that has been demineralized through reverse osmosis or distillation.
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