The average modern day vegetable producer has done a wonderful job of feeding massive amounts of people on a large scale. The trade off, however, seems to be at the expense of optimal taste and nutrition. During tough economic times, it can be a rather daunting task to find the best nutritional value for your family’s budget, when it comes to fresh vegetables, in super-sized grocery stores.
According to Donald R. Davis, a former research associate with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin claims, “there is definitely a correlation between the high and low yield varieties, and in the varying amount of nutrients they contain.”
What is commonly known, today, as the ‘genetic dilution effect’, was first discovered and published in a 1981 study conducted by W.M. Jarrell and R.B. Beverly in the”Advances In Agronomy”. What has been less studied, are the nutritional effects of selective genetic breeding of plant foods chosen specifically for higher yields.
In 1996 and ’97′, a study was performed in South Carolina using a variety of broccoli chosen for its high yields. It was shown that selective genetic breeding lead to a loss of protein, amino acids, and as many as six different minerals. Davis says,”jumbo sizing the end product is no assurance of increased nutrition and is, in effect, winding up with more dry matter that dilutes mineral concentrations, making for a nutritionally emptier food source.”
Loss of important nutrients can also be attributed to the industrialization of agriculture that relies, heavily, on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and rushed harvesting techniques. When plant foods are harvested earlier, the plant has had less time to take up minerals from the soil it needs to go through its natural synthesis process.
Farming practices such as those mentioned above, along with lack of crop rotations, has led to over using soils to the point of mineral depletion. Not only do plants need a wide variety of nutrients to grow healthy, we need them to be in the plant food source, in abundance, so they are naturally healthy for us to eat.
It is estimated that there is somewhere between 5 to 40 percent less protein and minerals in commercially grown vegetables, when compared to organic or locally grown produce. Fifty years ago, this was less of a problem than it has become today, and it is uncertain how much fruits are effected when compared to vegetables.
As intimidating as this information like this may sound to you, don’t let it shake you up so much. This may be one reason why nutritional health experts have recently started recommending 7 to 9 servings a day (or more) of this important food group. The old recommended 5 a day guideline has suddenly become outdated.
Realistically, what can we do to increase our benefits of adding more fruit and vegetable nutrition to our daily diets? Well, you can try growing a small vegetable garden. If you don’t have the green thumb know how, then the simplest alternative is to shop as organically and locally as you possibly can.
Focus on getting more whole foods that are grown and raised as nature intended with sustainable growing practices. Most people will agree food raised this way not only tastes better, it is often of better quality and is much fresher.
When it comes to buying organic, buyer beware of the shady business tactics of big agri that has tainted the organic food label. Just because the label says it is organic, does not mean it actually is. Many smaller, local farmers raise organic quality food, but are unable to afford the expensive certification process required to legally label them as such.
If you frequently shop local farmers markets, and organic is important to you, just talk with the people who raise the food you are buying. Striking up a conversation is the easiest way to find out what you are wanting to know. Organically grown produce definitely bumps up your nutritional intake of this food group, so much so, that eating 5 a day may be a sufficient amount to keep you relatively healthy.
Depending on your regional climate and soil conditions, a lack of locally grown fruits and vegetables may leave you very few options other than to eat commercially grown produce. If this is the case, don’t worry so much about it. Certainly, it is far better to eat them, no matter how they are grown, than not at all.
It is possible to take advantage of what few nutrients may be available in them, making them work more effectively for you, by drinking more water. I am not kidding you on this, nothing more than pure water will do a better job of carrying nutrients to cell membranes, aids in nutrient absorption by keeping cells well hydrated, plus it washes away oxidative waste residues and toxins.
Water does not count as pure water if it is in the form of sodas, teas, and coffee, or juices. Water needs to be the dominate beverage that gets you through each and every day, saving those other drinks for occasional use, and in mindful moderation.
It is because of these losses in nutrients through today’s food processing that nutritional supplementation MUST be a part of every diet. Find out more about healthy nutritional supplementation.