These Ain’t Your Grandma’s Fruits-n-Veggies

March 8, 2012

health, Nutrition and Diet

healthiest veggies

There’s one that never changes when it comes to advice for nutrition and well-being, and that is simply to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t matter if you just want to start living healthier or if you’re on a journey to lose weight… this is at the core of almost every diet that makes any sense. However, this long-lived word of wisdom may not be as true as it once was. In a sense at least. What? Yeah, I hear you. That doesn’t seem like it makes much sense, but research is showing that our fruits and veggies are not as nutritious as they were in past generations.

There have been several studies done looking into this crazy phenomenon and it’s proving true… the nutrients in our fresh fruits and veggies are on a downward spiral. Donald R. Davis, PhD from the University of Texas in Austin led one of the most publicized studies that was printed in HortScience.

One of the major points that he brings to our attention is that the more crops grown in any particular location, the less nutritious the food will be. The majority of the healthy benefits of fresh fruits and veggies that are lost come from the loss of minerals, which can be as high as a 40 percent loss or as low as a five percent loss. But the food loses almost as much vitamins and proteins, too.

Growing more crops within an area than before is only one of the reasons we’re seeing a decline in the nutrient-value of vegetables and fruit. Unfortunately, the soil we use today just isn’t as ideal as it once was for growing. Years and years of the soil being turned over and farmed has led to the soil becoming depleted. We have more sick plants than ever and we continue to have to increase herbicides and pesticides just to protect the plants. During generations before, that wasn’t needed because the plants were healthy enough to fight off things on their own.

Although they may not be as good for you as they once were though, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on eating plenty of them. Mix it up and eat some of them raw and some of them cooked. Janet Brill, PhD, RD says that discovering how our fruits and veggies have lost a lot of their nutritious value simply means you should try to eat more of them.

How do You Still Get As Much From Fruits and Veggies as Possible?

If you can, buy those that are grown in your local area. The quicker they make it on to your table from the farmland, the better. Just about everywhere has some kind of farmer’s market close by. If you simply can’t buy locally grown foods, then the next best bet is to buy them frozen.

When you cook them, minimize the amount of cutting, dicing and chopping that you do. As they’re exposed to more air, they lose more nutrients. Most fruits and veggies are better off raw or slightly cooked, too. They lose more of their nutrients as they’re cooked, although there are exceptions to this rule. When you cook them, cook them quick. Stir fry or steam them… any way that cooks ‘em fast and doesn’t expose them to too much water.

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