(photo via Eumarrah)
Not all fruits and vegetables are created equal. Some have had most of the nutrients cultivated right out of them and others are so full of sugar you’d might as well eat a candy bar.
Everybody agrees it’s a good idea to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Eat as many as possible and you’ll be getting great nutrition. Right? The answer to that is…well maybe, but certainly not always.
In her wonderful book called Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, author Jo Robinson explains how the super-nutritious plants gathered and consumed by our ancestors began to change with the introduction of agriculture. The human preference for sweet and starchy inspired even the earliest farmers to cultivate certain crops over others for taste, leaving astringent, sour and bitter flavored plants in the wild. The problem is that in cultivating for their palates they left many of the more powerful nutrients behind. Over time these powerful components have evolved further and further out of the typical human diet.
Much of the produce currently available in our country’s food supply is nutritionally compromised.
Most of the fruits and vegetables available today are grown, harvested and distributed by large-scale industrial systems. Not only is our modern produce largely grown in depleted, nutrient deficient soil, but it is cultivated for long distance transportation and extended shelf life– not for optimal nutrition. The dramatic rise in health issues such as cancer, obesity, adult and childhood diabetes, metabolic diseases, immunity and neurological disorders in the last half-century appear as evidence of this phenomenon.
In her book, Robinson does not merely rail against the current state of things, thankfully, but provides practical knowledge and simple tips for navigating through these issues.
It’s not about striking out into the woods with your gathering basket.
- learning what you can easily grow for yourself or find in the supermarket
- what varieties to look for, how to shop for freshness
- how to prepare and store all of the best produce that is widely available so you can get the most bang for your buck (and bite!)
Here are our favorite tips from Jo for
Getting The Most Out Of Your Veggies at the Supermarket!
- The yellowest corn in the store has 35 times more beta-carotene than white corn.
- Carrots are more nutritious cooked than raw. When cooked whole, they have 25 percent more falcarinol, a cancer-fighting compound, than carrots that have been sectioned before cooking.
- Beet greens are more nutritious than the beets themselves.
- The smaller the tomato, the more nutrients it contains. Deep red tomatoes have more antioxidants than yellow, gold, or green tomatoes. The most nutritious tomatoes in the supermarket are not in the produce aisles— they are in the canned goods section! Processed tomatoes, whether canned or cooked into a paste or sauce, are the richest known source of lycopene. They also have the most flavor.
- Ounce per ounce, there is more fiber in raspberries than bran cereals.
- Canned or jarred artichokes are just as nutritious as fresh artichokes.
For Part 2 check out 5 Tips for Optimum Nutrition (It’s How You Prep and Store It!)
Read more in Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, by Jo Robinson.
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