Nature’s Secret Nutrition Powerhouses
Wrecked by Agribusiness
Here’s how to get the natural goodness your body craves…
Eating your fruits and vegetables may not be giving you the health benefits you think.
The reason lies in where those fruits and veggies come from. If you buy the perfectly colored, uniformly shaped offerings at your local grocery store, you might not be getting the nutrition you expect.
Big corporate farms grow most produce at your supermarket. And we can’t blame them for wanting to produce a product that’s beautiful to behold, holds up well in transit, and is economical to grow. But these farms tend to overwork the soil, and over the years, that reduces nutrients not only in the soil but in the fruits and vegetables that come from it.
Another problem is the varieties of fruits and vegetables these farms tend to grow. They focus on fast growing, pest-resistant, high-yield varieties. The downside is, these varieties simply don’t absorb nutrients as well as those that grow more slowly and need a little more care.
Just 30 years ago, a head of broccoli or a carrot would have had notably higher levels of vitamins and minerals. Between 1950 and 1999, scientists tracked changes in the nutritional value of 43 different fruits and vegetables. They found that levels of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B2 had all declined steadily. That means that even when you think you’re making healthy choices, you still aren’t getting the full health benefits nature intended. You’re being nutritionally short-changed in the name of vegetables that are easier to grow and look prettier.
In studies, researchers have found that people who eat a diet filled with diverse fruits and vegetables tend to have healthier DNA as they age. Heirloom foods can help make that possible.
Finally, growing and buying heirloom foods helps to preserve crop diversity. Those big corporate farms usually grow wheat, genetically modified corn, or soy. The bigger they get, the less room there is for other foods to grow. When you grow heirlooms yourself, you preserve the seeds to pass down again and again. And when you buy heirloom foods, you support the farmers who grow them.
In terms of nutrition, health, and self-reliance, growing and buying heirloom foods is a win-win-win.