Why your veg­etable gar­den is the key to your health.

Good - - CONTENTS - with Ben War­ren nz BePure – Ben War­ren

Veg­gie gar­den goodness

In the western world we are es­sen­tially “overfed but un­der­nour­ished”, mean­ing it’s in­cred­i­bly easy to get the ba­sic calo­ries our bod­ies need for en­ergy pro­duc­tion, but very dif­fi­cult to get the nu­tri­ents (vi­ta­mins and min­er­als) our bod­ies need for health.

Min­er­als and vi­ta­mins are key to our health and in­volved in just about ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing hor­mone pro­duc­tion, im­mu­nity, growth and re­pair. Our meta­bolic path­ways are de­pen­dent on them act­ing as coen­zymes for the en­zymes in­volved in ex­tract­ing en­ergy from our diet. How do we get as many min­er­als and vi­ta­mins as pos­si­ble? En­ter the hum­ble veg­etable gar­den!

Not only has our diet changed in the last 100 years, but our agri­cul­tural sys­tems have too. I be­came aware of this when do­ing my Mas­ter’s de­gree in nu­tri­tion. When I stud­ied which nu­tri­ents peo­ple gained from their diets, I learned that many of today’s fruits and veg­eta­bles may not be as nutrient-rich as they would have been pre­vi­ously.

There are many rea­sons for this:

· Mod­ern farm­ing meth­ods The land is in­ten­sively farmed year af­ter year, lead­ing to min­eral-de­pleted soils (trace min­er­als are es­sen­tial to our health). · Nitro­gen use Us­ing ex­ces­sive nitro­gen can re­duce plant root struc­ture by up to 90 per cent, mean­ing the roots can­not ac­cess the trace min­er­als in the soil.

· Year-round sup­ply of fruit and veg­eta­bles We are not eat­ing foods as fresh as we used to. Fruits and veg­eta­bles lose much of their wa­ter-sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins (B vi­ta­mins and vi­ta­min C) as they get older. Of­ten we are eat­ing foods that have been picked months ear­lier, cold stored and trans­ported around the world. This made me re­alise I couldn’t buy the kind of food I wanted to eat, so I thought, “I’ve got to live on a farm.” The con­cept of the BePure farm was born. My fam­ily and I have lived here for nearly nine years – a 15-acre, per­ma­cul­ture-de­signed, or­ganic farm where we grow 80 per cent of the food we eat. I spent four years and $10,000 on soil test­ing and re-min­er­al­is­ing the farm’s soils. We tested the nutrient den­sity of the pro­duce and found we were grow­ing pro­duce with, on av­er­age, five times more nu­tri­ents than you could buy in the su­per­mar­ket.

Now, you may not live on a farm. But you can still get many of the ben­e­fits of grow­ing your own food through hav­ing your own veg­etable gar­den. Even if you do very lit­tle to the soil, by just plant­ing the seedlings, wa­ter­ing them, and avoiding the use of syn­thetic fer­tiliser, you can most likely grow food that’s more nutrient-dense than the fruit and veg­eta­bles we buy.

You can ac­tu­ally taste good nu­tri­tion. When you bite into a fresh, lo­cal, in-sea­son peach, the flavour ex­plodes in your mouth. Then in mid-win­ter, when we see a peach in the su­per­mar­ket and re­mem­ber that taste from sum­mer, we’re dis­ap­pointed when we bite into it be­cause it tastes like wa­ter.

Those of you who al­ready have a veg­etable gar­den know this. No veg­eta­bles taste as good as the ones you’ve grown your­self and have picked fresh, ready to be eaten.

Even if you live in an apart­ment you may still have the op­por­tu­nity to grow some greens in pots on the bal­cony. At least this way you can pop out in the morn­ing and pick some­thing fresh, such as home-grown herbs, to go with your eggs or to put in your smoothie.

If there’s no way for you to grow any food, then your lo­cal farm­ers’ mar­ket is go­ing to be your best op­tion. Re­mem­ber to fo­cus on lo­cal, in-sea­son pro­duce to get the most nu­tri­ents from the food you eat. Ben War­ren is a nu­tri­tion and holis­tic health ex­pert.

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