Saturday, June 11, 2011

Growing the Old Fashioned Varieties :-)

I’ve always wondered why heirloom varieties are supposedly healthier to grow.  This explains it! 

Researchers have known since the 40’s that yield increases produced by fertilization, irrigation and other environmental means tend to decrease the concentrations of minerals in those plants,  These techniques  give growers higher yields and consumers get less expensive food.  But because of this, we get a lower quality food as well. 

Another contributor to the nutrient deficiencies in food is what scientists call the Genetic Dilution Effect, which happens when farmers breed plants to produce high-yield varieties.  This declines the nutrient concentration significantly in comparison with the heirloom verities grown years ago.

  • Wheat and barley~ Protein concentrations declined by 30-50 percent between the years 1938 and 1990

  • Official U.S.D.A. nutrient data shows the calcium content of broccoli averaged 12.9 milligrams per lb of dry weight in 1950, but only 4.4 ml. dry weight in 2003.  

  • In fruits and veggies, usually 80-90 percent of the dry weight yield is carbohydrates—sugars and starches (the last thing we need more of in the American diet). When growers choose varieties for highest yields, they are selecting mostly for the highest amounts of carbohydrates.

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