Home > Uncategorized > Your Veggies Today Ain’t Like They Were In The Old Days

Your Veggies Today Ain’t Like They Were In The Old Days

Unless you eat organically grown fruits and vegetables whose prices are a rip-off, the veggies you select from the produce aisles in your grocery store lack the nutrients they carried 30 years ago.

The reason is synthetic fertilizers and faster growing hybrids that growers believe produce large specimens more attractive to dimwitted buyers.

A review of USDA data shows broccoli, for example, contained 130mg of calcium in 1950 compared to 48mg in 1999.  The loss of nutrients is across the board in varying degrees depending on the fruit or vegetable.

Such findings from a number of studies was reported in Saturday’s Diet and Nutrition segment by MSNBC.com.

Basically, researchers noted, was that fast-growing larger products do not have  time to absorb to capacity nutrients from the soil.

The trick, they said, is to select the best colored product, such as red-leaf lettuce over iceberg.

Better yet, select a homegrown product when possible. For example, many fruits such as oranges and vegetables such as tomatoes are picked green and ripen between field and display at the grocery store. Most buyers know that vine-ripened products taste better and the reason is fuller maturation from the time they are harvested.

Some vegetables such as broccoli and carrots actually increase their nutrient value when steam cooked because the heat breaks down the nutrient cells for more efficient assimilation.

Bigger isn’t better, so skip the huge tomatoes and giant peppers. “Plants have a finite amount of nutrients they can pass on to their fruit, so if the produce is smaller, then its level of nutrients will be more concentrated,” says Donald Davis, a former researcher with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin.

There is no magic in organic fruits and vegetables. The difference is they are grown without synthetic fertilizers and chemicals. It just takes them longer to harvest, thus the increase in costs.

What I object to is the artificial price they set to attract only the elitist among consumers.

My local Henry’s outlet specializes in produce grown locally in season and from Mexico and South America out of season. The first crop of Thompson seedless grapes from Coachella Valley were priced at $1.69 per pound. The organic Thompson seedless were selling for $6.48 per pound.

I defy anyone to tell me the marginal difference in nutritional value are worth $4.79 a pound.

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