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Are Vegetables as Nutritious as We Think?

Armen Hareyan's picture

(NC) - Most of us know how important it is to incorporate vegetables into our meals. But even if we are managing to eat our greens with dinner, we still might not be getting all the essential nutrients typically associated with vegetable consumption. A recent U.S. study suggests that our vegetables just aren't as nutritious as they once were.

The study examined 43 common garden crops and found that their content of vitamins B and C, iron and calcium were low. When comparing today's crops with those harvested in 1950, the nutrient content had declined significantly in six out of 13 nutrients: protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C.

For example, tomatoes had 40%less vitamin C, 40% less protein and 40% fewer minerals than tomatoes grown in 1950. Researchers suggest there was probably also a decline in other nutrients not studied, like magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin E and dietary fiber, not to mention phytochemicals.

The study suggests that when farming focuses on bigger sizes and higher yields, crops lose the ability to make nutrients at the same, fast rate. Also chemical fertilizers and pesticides can rob the soil of organisms essential in helping crops absorb nutrients.

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Even though vegetables are not as nutrient rich as they used to be, dietitian Andrea Miller from Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, reminds Canadians that they are still one of the best sources of vitamins and minerals. "It is important to try to eat at least five to ten servings of fruit and vegetables each day," says Miller. "But it can be more difficult to get all the nutrients our bodies need consistently, so people should consider taking a well-balanced, daily multivitamin to complement their diet."

For more information on healthy eating and vitamin and mineral supplements, visit www.centrumvitamins.ca


- News Canada