Why vegetables are the most important food group

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This post is by Self-cured Health Researcher, Best-selling Author and International Speaker, Jason Shon Bennett.

You know your salad is big enough when you bring the bowl to the table and people react with shock and awe. Dr Alan Goldhamer, USA

Organic vegetables

Vegetables are the only foods that contain all of the following.

  • Fibre — to ensure your bowels evacuate regularly and remove the body waste.
  • Vitamins — vitamin C for your immune system and fat-burning.
  • Highly alkalising minerals — from boron to zinc.
  • Essential fatty acids — for lubrication, longevity, skin, internal protection.
  • Biophotons — plant-stored ‘sunlight fuel’.
  • Plantioxidants — antioxidants only available in plant compounds.
  • Prebiotics — to feed and strengthen your good intestinal bacteria.
  • Digestive enzymes — to break down your food for full absorption.
  • Proteins — for your cells, muscles, heart.
  • Carotenoids — that convert into plantioxidant protection in the body.
  • Chlorophyll — the ‘green blood’ of plants that cleans/rebuilds your blood.
  • Flavonoids — anthocyanins, flavonols, flavones, flavonones.
  • Polyphenols — incredibly important plant pigments that protect the systems of the body from almost all chronic disease.
  • Trace elements — such as selenium, the only trace element mentioned in the human DNA code.
  • Water, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen — all necessary for survival.
  • Phytonutrition, phytochemicals and unique plant pigments — lignans, sulphoraphane, DIM, isothiocyanates — all anti-cancer.

Good-quality vegetables are essential to life and they should form the biggest part of your food intake. The small list of vegetable nutrients above gives you a strong gastrointestinal and immune system, a powerful heart, improved eyesight, a protected brain, increased fat loss and weight management and a far lower risk of almost every known disease.

There are thousands more vegetable nutrients not mentioned that build and add to these benefits and increase protection. Vegetables are the basis for health and longevity. You can live on green vegetables alone; they are that nutritious (although I would not recommend this for a variety of reasons).

 

Field of vegetables

Eat organically grown vegetables when you can

The most comprehensive study of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology in history is the IAASTD Report. It was researched by 400 scientists, who spent three years looking at food production and growing methods that would benefit human health. The report recommended ‘agroecology’, or what most of us know as ‘organic farming’.

The word organic means living, and in practical terms, this means natural food that is grown and processed without chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Organic food is natural food, the way it has been safely growing for centuries. Certified organic foods are not allowed to have been subject to growth hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, dyes, chemical coatings, genetic engineering or irradiation. 

Why organic?

Biodiversity and taste

In 1950 there were around 100 varieties of tomato grown in New Zealand; today you can expect around five. In 1903, in the US there were 46 varieties of asparagus, now there are three; there were 338 varieties of rock melon, now there are 27; and there were 164 varieties of celery, there are now just three.

Organic farmers plant many more species of produce and have brought back many heirloom varieties from the brink of extinction; these often prove tastier and juicier than their modern-day counterparts. In Britain, organic farmers grow hundreds of different varieties of potatoes.

 Better levels of nutrition

Organic food has more nutrition, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. This gives you better protection from disease. Organic foods retain essential nutrients such as iron and salicylic acid, which can be stripped away in conventional food processing.

This is because in organic farming great emphasis is on nourishing the soil, which in turn gives healthy plants with higher nutrient levels. Professor Keith Goulding, president of the British Society of Soil Science, estimates that the world will ‘run out of soil within 60 years’ due to erosion and bad land management in commercial farming. 

Supporting the community

Organic farms are usually small, family-run operations that use techniques that limit agricultural impact on the soil, on streams and ground water, bird and wild life, and on human health. To produce high-quality organic food, every step of production is more labour intensive, time consuming and not as profitable. Organic food takes longer to grow because there are no hormones or chemical fertilisers used to speed up the process. 

Eat organic food.

Olaf Larson on his 101st birthday

What do my wife Tracey and I do?

Over the years, we have grown our own vegetables when we can. Even in the city, in a small area you can generally grow almost as much leafy green vegetable produce that a family can eat. Things such as greens and herbs grow so easily! Tracey has belonged to an organic food co-op for many years. She and 11 others in the local community source myriad organic foods in bulk, such as grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, legumes and much more.

We also regularly buy organically grown produce (depending on the price and local availability). We then top up here and there with fresh seasonal produce, often from local markets or farmers’ markets. Selecting organic food is safer for your health and for the environment that our kids will inherit. 

Edesia is committed to bringing you the finest vegetables and organic produce. Browse Edesia Online Farmers Market's range of organic vegetables here

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  • Craig Hopkins