Time is money, nutritionally speaking

 
Thursday marks my first official share of this year’s CSA and I can’t wait for the abundance of super fresh organic fruits and vegetables that will soon be filling my refrigerator and fueling my body over the coming summer months.

Support your local agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA for short, is a way for local farms to share their produce with the people living in their communities. At the start of each growing season portions of the farm’s expected harvest is sold upfront to farm “share holders”.  During the spring/summer growing season the farm’s harvest is divided and distributed to the “share holders” as it becomes available.  My CSA is coming from Green Meadow Farm in South Hamilton,MA only a few miles from my house.   I am lucky to have such a wonderful resource available so close to my house because when it comes to the nutrient density of food time means everything.

Popeye knew spinach would make his body strong.

Spinach is vegetable often associated with a strong body and good health.  Like all dark green leafy vegetables, spinach is packed with essential vitamins and minerals vital to maintaining a healthy body.  Vitamin B9 (folate/folic acid) protects your body against heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer as well as reducing your risk of obesity, depression, infertility, and osteoporosis.  Although the spinach leaves and the grocery store, farmer’s market, or in your CSA share may look the same, there are some very important differences that determine just how much B9 is still left in those leaves.

High demand for fresh food year round causes some of our food to travel several days to a week before it arrives at the grocery store.  And, if you are like most Americans, it may be several more days before the spinach gets eaten.  You bought this food to ensure your diet is rich in vitamins and minerals, but how much is left by the time it gets to your plate?  A recent study done at Penn State found that time, as well as storage conditions, had a drastic effect on how much B9 was retained in spinach leaves in the time between when the leaves were picked and when they were eaten.  Spinach that was stored between 50 – 68 degrees, perhaps the same temperature as a truck driving a haul of spinach to New England fromCalifornia, retained only 53% of its folate after 6 days.  Even if your spinach is hauled in a refrigerated container, the numbers aren’t much better.  Spinach kept at 39 degrees lost 47% of its folate after only 8 days.  I love spinach, but I don’t want to eat 2 times as much just to get all the vitamins and minerals that were present if I have eaten it the day it was picked. 

The less traveling your food has to do to get to you, the less time it spends just hanging around waiting to be eaten, the more nutrient dense it is and the more valuable it is to your body.   If you don’t already belong to a CSA, check out your local farmer’s market. They are a great place to learn more about the food grown in your area and to pick up some of the healthiest, tastiest, freshest food around!

Want to find the Farmer’s Market in your area?  Check here!

Advertisements

4 Comments on “Time is money, nutritionally speaking”

  1. […] Just remember that super foods don’t have to come from exotic places or have names you can’t pronounce.  Some of the most nutritious food you can get you hands on can be grown right in your own back yard!  And, when you are in doubt about what might be the most nutrient dense food you can choose…always GO GREEN!!! Read more about why the freshest food is also the most nutritious here. […]

  2. […] Learn more about the nutritional importance of buying fresh, local produce here. […]

  3. […] In addition to supporting local farms, belonging to the CSA or visiting a Farmer’s Market offers significant nutritional advantages.  The more time your food spends between the farm and your table, the less valuable it becomes.  Read more about the connection between time and the nutritional value of your food here. […]

  4. Tammy says:

    I love this post and the concept that time is money in nutritional terms. Great thoughts here about the loss of nutrients and the importance of CSA.


Please leave a reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s