Google the words “healthy soil,” and you’ll find a plethora of initiatives across the country seeking to save our farms and ranches.
Why is the quantity and quality of our soil so important? Our food supply depends on the soil in order to offer the full variety of nutrients our bodies need to be healthy. When the soil is lacking in nutrients, so is the food produced from that soil.
According to the American Farmland Trust (AFT), 1.7 billion tons of topsoil are lost to erosion each year in America, and half the planet’s topsoil has been lost in the last 150 years. Besides reducing the amount of fertile land, this erosion also increases the risk of pollution in our rivers and streams. Land is also lost each year through development that paves over farm and ranch land, reducing the soil available to produce food.
On the other hand, a teaspoon of high quality soil can contain as many as 6 billion beneficial microorganisms. The AFT website explains,
“High-quality soils produce nutritious food with a minimal amount of fertilizer, which can pollute water and air. Without high-quality soils, we can’t feed ourselves.”
Perhaps this need for quality soil explains the growing popularity of organic foods, whose certification requires a history of well-defined practices for soil improvement, water conservation and more. The organic farmer practices crop rotation, cover cropping, manuring and composting to increase organic matter in the soil. Presumably, these soils would offer a higher quality end product than foods from farms that do not work to conserve and improve soil quality.
Did you know that if your eyes don’t contain vitamin A, you won’t be able to see? How about your body’s use of calcium, not only for bone health, but also for cellular communication and satiety?
Besides striving to be sure you eat foods that actually contain the nutrients you need, your diet choices can just as easily cause you to lose even more nutrients. A diet high in acid, like one where fast foods and sodas far outweigh more alkaline choices such as greens, can cause the body to lose minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorous as the body attempts to come back from the acidic state to an acid-alkaline balance.
Even when we have chosen foods from healthy soils, there are other loopholes in the route of nutrients from mouth to body to consider. We create some of the digestive enzymes our bodies need, like pancreatin, but mostly we rely on the foods we eat to provide the enzymes required for our body to break the food down and digest nutrients for our body to use.
Any processing of food, like the radiating of food practiced by many manufacturers or the use of chemical preservatives, can reduce the natural digestive enzymes that exist in the food to help us digest them. Unless we eat our food raw, chances are our bodies have to pitch in with enzymes they create in order to completely digest our food. That enzyme activity uses up energy and enzyme production we could have saved for the metabolic enzymes our body also needs (and has to create) to live.
Supplements May Help
Fortunately, digestive enzyme supplements can help provide the missing enzymes in our foods. Multivitamin and mineral formulas can also help fill in the nutrient gaps caused by our diets and lifestyles. Discussing your lifestyle and food choices with your healthcare provider can help you determine what nutrition gaps may be affecting your progress toward your best health.
Unless you are a farmer, you may not be able to control the kind of soil your food grows in, but you can make wise choices about the supplements you may need to fully digest your foods and to make up for any nutrition lacking in your diet. At Betsy’s, we are committed to helping you with those wise choices by taking your health to heart.
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition or take medications. Most digestive enzymes and MVM formulas, for example, also thin blood.