The scoop on buying vegetables: the fresher, the better

The scoop on buying vegetables: the fresher, the better

My husband is a gardener. He spends hours digging, preparing the soil and nurturing the seedlings as they grow. He has a knack for strawberries, green beans, tomatoes and chard, though not so much for corn. Sometimes the carrots and cucumbers are abundant and delicious. Sometimes they are not.

Did you know that produce from your yard is much more nutritionally dense than store bought produce? Produce loses nutrients when it is picked early, exposed to extreme temperatures or bruised. Some things, such as tomatoes, lose nutrients when they are refrigerated. Also, vegetables from large farms contain significantly less nutrition than those from smaller farms. And of course, organic matters too. The sprays used on apples, peppers, tomatoes, grapes and strawberries are often toxic and can cause problems such as infertility and cancer.

Vegetables contains vitamins, minerals, fiber and many other agents that prevent cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation and can slow down aging.  A friend of mine claims that her gray hair turned brown when she started drinking green smoothies every day. I tell my patients to eat large servings of vegetables in a rainbow of colors to sustain health and prevent disease. You absorb significantly greater amounts of nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables than you can from even the finest quality supplements.

If you don’t have room for a garden, we are lucky enough to have many wonderful farmers’ markets in the area. Of course, I am partial to Beaverton Farmers Market which is having its Summer Opening Day on May 4th.

Our family goes every Saturday to shop for the week. We listen to music, see friends, admire the flowers and often have a lovely snack of berries or other treats. My husband buys vegetable starts and our son runs through the fountain if it’s hot. And, while a bunch of carrots may cost the same as in the grocery store, the carrots from the market taste SO much better and their bunches are usually twice the size. Chances are that they contain a lot more nutritional pop than their store-bought cousins.

So, come on down. Enjoy the community, support our local farmers and give your body a nutritional boost

By Dr. Jennifer Means who, along with Elizabeth Elliott welcome you for Primary Care for the whole family: Nutrition, IV Therapy, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture. Contact us at 503-641-6400.