While it is theoretically possible to obtain all your nutritional needs from the foods you eat, research shows that most people in developed countries – particularly those where the westernised diet is the dominant one – don’t even come close to meeting the daily nutritional intake of essential nutrients.
There is a big difference between calorie intake and nutritional value. Most people consume far too many calories derived from the fats, proteins and carbohydrates in our diets, however we fall woefully short in the intake of micro-nutrients – the vitamins, minerals and trace elements needed in minute amounts.
Over the years, scientific researchers have documented numerous micro-nutrients required for optimal health. We now know the body requires approximately 17 vitamins and vitamin like substances, and diverse groups of plant-based antioxidants, at least 14 trace elements and minerals. The body cannot manufacture many of these substances, they must be obtained through the diet. Newly discovered plant derived compounds are added to the list as science uncovers further evidence of the substantial health benefits of many of these phytonutrients.