Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lightweight Veggies

Veggies, not what they used to be.

From MSNBC...
Today's conventionally grown produce isn't as healthful as it was 30 years ago — and it's only getting worse. The decline in fruits and vegetables was first reported more than 10 years ago by English researcher Anne-Marie Mayer, who looked at the dwindling mineral concentrations of 20 UK-based crops from the 1930s to the 1980s.

It's happening to crops in the U.S., too. In 2004, a team analyzed 43 fruits and vegetables from 1950 to 1999 and reported reductions in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Using USDA data, he found that broccoli, for example, had 130 mg of calcium in 1950. Today, that number is only 48 mg.

What's going on? Davis believes it's due to the farming industry's desire to grow bigger vegetables faster. The very things that speed growth — selective breeding and synthetic fertilizers — decrease produce's ability to synthesize nutrients or absorb them from the soil.

A different story is playing out with organic produce. "By avoiding synthetic fertilizers, organic farmers put more stress on plants, and when plants experience stress, they protect themselves by producing phytochemicals," explains Alyson Mitchell, from the University of California. Her 10-year study showed that organic tomatoes can have as much as 30 percent more phytochemicals than conventional ones.

Strengthening the case even further for farmers markets and urban gardens.

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