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So your vegetable box is delicious, conveniently delivered to your door, and a great price, but is it any better for your health?
Let’s start with fresh and local. The food you buy in the supermarket, even the organic produce, is most often not fresh or local. Have you ever noticed that very few of the fruit or vegetables are actually grown in Ireland? Before flying half way across the world to get to you, they could be sprayed with wax or sulphites, sterilised, irradiated, or artificially ripened. All of this to make sure that the fruit or vegetable you buy will survive the time it takes to get to your dinner plate! After being picked, treated, packaged and transported, it must then last for days to weeks on the supermarket shelf. You have to question any food that still looks the part after all that time!
At least you know the kale is organic! unfortunately the next photo shows what he and his friends can accomplish in an afternoon!
We have so much choice now. We don’t eat just seasonal produce anymore, as we can easily access any type of food grown anywhere in the world without even thinking about it. But we get less nutrition from our food as a result, and many of us are over-fed and under-nourished.
lovely fresh uchi kuri pumpkins from Green Earth Organics polytunnels
Some vitamins in particular are very sensitive to heat, light and air after being harvested, and vitamin losses increase when food is chemically treated or irradiated. At this time of year, cold and flu season, the big concern is vitamin C. Vitamin C is required by our bodies in much larger quantities than normal in order to support our immune systems. And vitamin C is the least stable nutrient, meaning that once food is picked the vitamin C content begins to diminish. Commercially bought produce may provide no significant quantities of this nutrient, particularly if food is then cooked, as this contributes to further nutrient losses. So to make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin C from your food and increase your resistance to any winter bugs, eat plenty of fresh local vegetables.
Kale is a favourite of mine as it is a nutritional powerhouse, providing more than your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C in just 1 cup. But remember this is a baseline level – you may require a lot more to fight off a cold! B vitamins are not so well-known but are equally vital for health. These are also easily lost from vegetables once they are picked. Vitamin B1 is the least stable of all and is found to be deficient in many people suffering from depression. So to ensure you are getting enough B1 and keep smiling through the winter months, eat your green vegetables from a fresh and local source. Cabbage is a top pick for vitamin B1 and is available all through the winter months!
loads of freshly harvested veg, celeriac and beetroot
Hopefully now you are convinced that fresh and local are definitely worth the effort, but is organic really all it’s cracked up to be? This is an area of health that has been hit hard by the press, with opponents claiming it is a waste of money. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With rising cancer rates and hormonal problems, and the very pesticides used to spray non-organic crops being undeniably linked with these problems, it couldn’t be a more important time to buy organic, as it might save you more than just money.
a sample of Green Earth Organics medium veg box
Thanks to Eleanor Winters for that inspiring article.
BA (hons) Genetics, PGDip NT, mNTOI
"Let your Food be your Medicine"