After many years of nutritional studies and developments in food technology, NASA has shifted from dietary supplements and formulas, focusing more on offering as many nutrients as possible, including fruits and vegetables. Food obtained from natural sources can provide as many nutrients as dietary supplements.
Don’t worry about supplements.
According to an Astronomy article, most people who access different food sources do not need to worry about dietary supplements. They also don’t need to be concerned about meal preparation like NASA.
The article specified that in space, astronauts are faced with extreme physical and environmental shifts. AS a result, they need safe and energy-packed meals for their general health.
Grace Douglas, NASA’s Advanced Food Technology’s lead researcher, says that they have a crew who need to both be healthy and perform in extreme situations. She added that food plays a massive role at both ends of the health spectrum. Just as food can make one extremely healthy, it can make one extremely ill.
The lead researcher continued to explain that a serious nutritious food system was needed for a space crew’s well-being and performance. However, it is cumbersome for those who travel far from earth to prepare, produce, and transport healthy food. Therefore, apart from being healthy and nutritious, the food needs to be palatable and remain safe for months or even years.
Over and above all, according to NASA, the food needs to fuel the astronauts for the challenges they experience. They are also required to take 2700 to 3700 calories daily, figures which greatly exceed earth’s daily needs. Failure to meet these levels of calories in space, however, is risking losing body mass.
Using industrial preservation methods
Although fruits are filled with nutrients, they lack the high number of calories the astronauts need. Apart from that, fruits take up a lot of space in a spaceflight where all available space is critical. To get food to an acceptable mass and increase its shelf-life., NASA makes use of industrial preservation methods like retort thermal sterilization and freeze trying.