More reasons to eat local vegetables

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

If you haven't yet visited Saturday morning's Farmers Market at the old West Ward building, or local vegetable farms and roadside stands, here's one more reason to do so.

The same goes for fruits and vegetables from your own backyard.

Food locally grown in small-scale operations and fresh picked is more nutritious than commercially grown, shipped in produce, according to studies cited in the latest Prevention magazine.

While it's always more healthy to eat your fruits and vegetables than junk food, not all veggies are created equal.

Donald Davis, PhD, led a team that analyzed 43 fruits and vegetables from 1950 to 1999 and reported reductions in vitamins, minerals and protein. Broccoli, for example, had 130 mg of calcium in 1950, compared to 48 mg today.

Why? Davis concluded that the effort to grow bigger vegetables faster hurt the vegetables ability to synthesize nutrients or absorb them from the soil.

The article had other tips such as choosing different colors of fruits, buying and eating smaller items, pay attention to cooking methods -- steaming and gentle heat can soften cell walls, making nutrients more accessible -- keep produce whole and eat it within a week.

More information is available at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37396355/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/

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