Vegetables Were Healthier Fifty Years Ago

The heirloom tomatoes in your garden may not just be tastier than commercially grown vegetables, but healthier too, according to a study from the American College of Nutrition. The study looked for 13 nutrients in 43 crops grown from 1950 to 1999 and discovered that the vegetables enjoyed by our grandparents were significantly more nutritious than the veggies found on supermarket shelves today.

After rigorous statistical analysis, the researchers found that, on average, all three minerals evaluated have declined; two of five vitamins have declined; and protein content has dropped by 6 percent.

The decline is attributed to the relentless pursuit of crop strains that produce high yields, but few nutrients. One solution, short of agribusiness embracing lower-yielding crop strains or starting a vegetable garden, is to patronize farm stands and farmer’s markets where you can buy from smaller, multi-crop farmers that value quality above quantity.

Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999 [Journal of the American College of Nutrition via The Conocopia Institute]
(Photo: androog)