Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Good Way to Stay Healthy: Try Vegetable Gardening

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Good Way to Stay Healthy: Try Vegetable Gardening

Article excerpt

Brussels sprouts were not my favorite food as a 4-year-old. Even if I had known then about their high nutritional value, I still wouldn't have liked them.

But mothers know better. Why else would mine have made me stay at the table gumming the vile little things, long after my brother and sisters had been allowed to run outside and play?

In fact, mothers through the ages have not been far off base. Vegetables excel at contributing to the health of children. All one has to do is compare the contents of a bottle of store-bought multivitamins to an analysis of the same vitamins and minerals in fresh vegetables to confirm their claim to fame as health food.

Raising vegetables is a good pursuit for those also rearing children. There are dozens of planting projects to share, children can see the fruits of their work, and getting Junior to eat peas is easier if he has grown them himself. Also, evidence suggests that the nutritional value of vegetables is far greater when they are eaten fresh.

Not only does taste begin to deteriorate as soon as vegetables are picked, their nutritional value declines as well. According to the National Garden Bureau, a vine-picked tomato, tested soon after harvest, has three times the vitamin C of one that spent time being shipped as well as time sitting in a supermarket vegetable bin.

There is research - still in its infancy - on how various growing media affect nutritional content. But preliminary information supports the idea that organic-rich garden soil produces vegetables with higher nutrient levels than the same varieties grown in a non-soil medium, such as with hydroponics. In addition, seed producers are beginning to come out with specially bred hybrids with more of one or another vitamin or mineral: Calcium-rich broccoli, a high-vitamin-C tomato, extra-vitamin-A carrots and so on. This trend will continue as gardeners and consumers increasingly seek out foods that are abundant in nutrients as well as taste.

Even die-hard flower gardeners should consider the contribution garden-grown vegetables can make to health and well-being, and tailor their vegetable gardens to their nutritional needs. …

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