It is estimated that today we consume 10%-20% of the Salvestrols which would have occurred naturally in our diet 100 years ago. We are being urged to eat more fruit and vegetables, but unless you exclusively eat organic produce, you are unlikely to get enough Salvestrols to stay healthy through diet alone.
Main reasons for Salvestrol deficiency:
Over 100 years ago mechanized farming was introduced to harvest large areas of single crops but this improved efficiency came at a cost. The entire crop could be lost to insect, fungal or weed infestation. To combat these infestations pesticides, fungicides and herbicides were introduced.
Unfortunately, although the resulting modern crops look appealing, they are severely depleted in Salvestrols. Salvestrols are the plants’ natural defence against pathogens. Agricultural chemicals are keeping the pathogens at bay so the plants don’t need to produce any Salvestrols and consequently they don’t end up in our food.
Organically grown food on the other hand, does not have this problem. Research has demonstrated that the level of Salvestrols in organic crops is 30 times higher than in those farmed under modern methods.
The combination of the bitterness of Salvestrols and modern preferences has resulted in the selection of sweeter tasting plants over plants that would normally be rich in Salvestrols. These sweet-tasting plant varieties produce fewer Salvestrols and so can only thrive under modern agricultural practices and only survive when protected by pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.
Crops that have been green-harvested and transported are also deficient in Salvestrols because they have not had the opportunity to ripen on the plant. It is during the ripening process that the plant needs to produce Salvestrols at the highest levels because this is when the plant is most at risk from pathogenic attack.
Salvestrols have a bitter taste. Our modern palate prefers sweeter tasting foods which mean fewer Salvestrols in our plant-sourced foods. In addition, the skin, pith and roots which contain the highest levels of Salvestrols, are the very parts of the plants that are removed and discarded during processing.
“The same chemicals that make fruit and veg bitter also imbue them with many health benefits. When scientists talk about the healthiness of green tea, dark chocolate, red wind or broccoli, much of what they are talking about is due to bitter chemicals called phytonutrients”. Source: Newscientist.com
Many Salvestrols are water soluble and will leach out of food during cooking. Salvestrols are very stable molecules and are not destroyed by heat however; some cooking techniques will reduce the Salvestrol levels in food. Boiling vegetables in water is only a good idea if you consume the vegetables and the cooking water.
Juicing has become a very popular option for the consumption of nutrients. However, this extracts the skin, pith and pulp of the fruit used.
We simply don’t eat enough unprocessed, non-agrochemically treated fruit, herbs and vegetables. Sadly, much of our diet is low in nutritional content and provides only ‘empty calories’.