The plant kingdom has provided the world’s healthiest source of nutrition since the dawn of time. Today, we know that there are over 50,000 edible plants on the planet. Of course, only a small fraction of those end up in our meals.
Just 12 plant sources along with five animal sources make up around 75 percent of the food consumed globally. Furthermore, 60 percent of the world’s plant food intake comes from corn, rice and wheat. These are staple foods but do not provide us with all of our nutritional needs.
If we think about the fact that there are tens of thousands of edible plants and count the actual number that we consume, there’s a world of nutritious fruits, vegetables and even wild plants that most of us have yet to “tastefully” discover.
Extensive research has determined that eating a primarily whole-food, plant-based diet as being the healthiest choice. This makes sense because plants provide nutrition from nature.
Edible plants extract nutrients from the soil in a cycle called rhizophagy, which means root eating. Their root systems absorb needed nutrients just like we use our mouths. Soil is a source of nitrogen and a variety of minerals that are acquired by microbes living in the earth. Through a symbiotic relationship (different species working together in close harmony), the roots of plants extract these nutrients from the microbes.
But that’s just the nutritional beginning. Each vegetable, fruit, etc. is like a factory that produces natural compounds, giving them color, smell, taste and protection. These phytonutrients include anthocyanins, carotenoids, flavonoids and proanthocyanidins.
Unlike nutrients such as carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, phytonutrients are not considered to be essential for life. But they are beneficial for our health. Plants provide both nutrients and phytonutrients in a balance created by nature.
Returning to the limited selection of 12 plant species that contribute to three quarters of the global source of food, modern farming practices have been shown to produce less nutritious crops because of nutrient-depleted soil.
It all goes back to plants feeding themselves. If they are not getting sufficient amounts of nutrition from the soil, they’re not producing as many nutrients and phytonutrients for human consumption, resulting in less nutritious food. This is one of the main reasons to take supplemental nutrition.
High-quality, effective and safe supplements can help to increase our intake of nutrients and phytonutrients. AIM Members have been doing just that for nearly four decades by taking whole-food powders, such as BarleyLife, Just Carrots, LeafGreens and RediBeets, and dietary supplements that include AIMega, GinkgoSense and Herbal Fiberblend. They are all sourced from edible plants and as a result, provide nutrition that works .