Here’s the question:“What has the biggest impact on the nutritional content of our fruit + veg? Travel, time on shelf, whether it’s organic or not etc?”
p.s. I am not claiming to be a fountain of all knowledge so feel free to contribute in the comments.
Here’s my answer:
It’s a matter of fact that fruits and vegetables eaten in the days of yore had a greater nutritional content than they do today.
We don’t farm how we used to.
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We’re a little more aggressive now to say the least.
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Which leaves us with the slight issue of soil depletion.
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Nutrients from our soil are stripped away faster than they can be replaced. This means that each new generation of carrot, say, will have slightly less nutrients than the one before it.
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I read in Scientific America that one study claims that 1 orange our grandparents ate had the nutritional value of 8 oranges today!
No wonder she can do this then.
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This doesn’t get you out of eating brussel sprouts this Christmas mind.
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Fruits and vegetables are still packed with nutrients and it would be a little sensationalist of me to state otherwise.
It’s just that they are less nutritious than they used to be.
It seems those in the agricultural business are more concerned with things like size, growth rate and pest resistance. Which makes sense for the businesses. The bigger and faster your carrot/brussel grows, the richer you’ll be. So, of course, it all comes down to money.
And this inevitably leads onto the organic vs. non-organic debate.
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Do organic fruits and veg have more nutrients?
Studies are inconclusive.
This is a long drawn out debate and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade…
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… you’ll have read about this already.
Some studies have suggested that organic produce has more Vitamin C and trace minerals, but other studies will argue against this. There are benefits of eating organic produce, but extra nutrients are not scientifically proven to be on that list.
Something you should consider, in terms of nutrients, is where your food is coming from.
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(A breathing tomato would be pretty scary).
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The further it has to travel = the longer it will have to respire = the more nutrients it will lose.
It’s simple math.
Companies are also choosing to pick their fruit and veg early so it can ripen en route to its final resting place.
This helps to increase the shelf life obviously, but it does mean that it hasn’t had time to fully grow using all of the nutrients from the soil.
This leads me to believe that the further a product has to travel, the earlier it will be picked and the more scrumptious nutrients it will lose.
So, my response to the question and anyone who is looking to get the most out of their 5-a-day, is to eat smart by eating local. Eat what’s in season and get it from local farmers. If you want to do your bit for the environment and the thought of GM crops has you quivering at your knees, go ahead and choose organic.
And, no. Wine does not count as one of your 5-a-day.