Though today’s food choices are diverse and reflective of a world culture, many would say that it is no longer as flavorful or nutritious as it once was. This is not just speculation, either. Recent studies have shown that as plants are bred to avoid pests, grow larger and have a longer shelf life, flavor and nutrition are lost. This becomes even more true when you look at the mineral content of agricultural soils that have been used for over a century. Plants simply don’t have access to the nutrients that they did a century or even a decade ago.
For the body, our nutrient requirements remain the same. This means that we must eat more fresh, healthy food in order to get the nutrients that we once did, or find another way to supplement them. To consider this, we can look to cultures that are limited in some nutrients or others, and consider trying some of the tactics that they use to get adequate nutrition.
Eskimos and Organ Meats
In the cold arctic lands where tribes like the Eskimo, Aleut, and Inuit live, there is little that can grow there. If you look at the native plants in the region, you will find certain nutrients like vitamin C are sorely lacking. Arctic tribes were forced to find these in other ways, particularly by eating certain organ meats in the game that they catch. Though humans can’t synthesize their own vitamin C, many arctic animals can, and the highest concentrations existed in different organs. This is true everywhere, and eating organ meats of animals that are locally available to you can be a large nutrient boost. Shellfish species that you eat whole, like oysters and clams, will also provide large mineral resources. All of these can be found at your local grocery, and organ meats, also called sweetbreads, have found a bit of a gourmet revival recently, which means there are a lot of delicious recipes to choose from.
Himalayan Cultures and Shilajit
In the high Himalayas, similar conditions exist and it’s difficult to find enough plants growing that can provide high levels of nutrients. Tribes here were able to trade lower altitude tribes their allotments of mined salt for all of the other food and livestock that they would need for the year. Another high-mineral compound that can be found in the Himalayas and Caucasus mountains is a resinous compound called Shilajit. This black goo is a resinous organic compound that is high in a number of different nutrients, and is broken down enough to be easily digestible.
Today, Shilajat can be found in the US as a health food supplement. Though some will try and re-form the compound in an artificially created powder, it is possible to find the naturally sourced resin on the market as well. Beware of powders which are always fake and counterfeit, which are both always substandard. Sites like https://purblack.com offer the shilajit resin, and give a number of different benefits and uses. Pürblack also sells their compound on Amazon, where there are over 500 reviews to see the efficacy of the substance.
The Desert Southwest and Anti-Diabetes Foods
Though the other examples have shown how cultures get access to more nutrients when food is scarce, there are times when you need to be able to digest things more slowly to get better nutrition and avoid disease. In the desert cultures, where bodies have evolved to quickly absorb nutrients, the sudden access to high-calorie, low fiber junk foods and carb-heavy foods have created a large rise in type II diabetes. This is particularly true for Native Americans, Mexicans, and Central Americans. The soluble and insoluble fiber combinations found in the naturally-growing food plants of the area have been shown to have a high concentration of compounds like inositol which are known fighters of this rampant condition. Cactus, desert beans, mesquite and other foods that fit this qualification can be found at specialty grocery stores, especially those which cater to a large Mexican or Central American community.
Island and Ocean-Goers
Though full of fish, there is a distinct number of missing nutrients that ancient sailors faced on long-term journeys. In particular, vitamin C was an issue. Stopping to get citrus in tropical ports and saving the peels to add to teas and other items helped to solve the problem (and the lack of this nutrient and its resultant scurvy was the reason that Vitamin C was one of the first to be discovered.) Access to algae, however, covered most of the other nutritional needs that sailors had, as it is packed with good oils, minerals and vitamins. This is true today, and algae can be found at many natural and Asian food markets.