Update and edit 12-21-19
After sending this post I was reminded there is still much we don’t know about the research described in the podcast interview I highlighted in this post, and asked to offer some context. A few points:
- “Nutrition” is much more than Vitamin C and some compounds which may oxidize readily in a few days.
- It is very probable that healthy plants with elevated levels of antioxidants will not lose even oxidizable nutrients as quickly as described.
- How crops were grown was not evaluated, but experience pointed out large variation from season to season. We should expect to find significant variation based on agronomic factors.
I recall a conversation where Bruce Tainio described working with an apple grower who produced such high quality apples they did not ozidize when cut open. They stayed white, and did not brown when left exposed to the air. Patients with diabetes could consume them with no blood sugar or insulin response. This occurs when you have very high levels of antioxidants and complex carbohydarates. This is the quality of fruit we are striving for.
Back to the original post
Spinach loses much of its nutritional value within seven days of being harvested. No matter how you store it. The spinach at Wal-mart may be better than that at Whole Foods, if it got there faster because of higher volume turnover.
Apples lose all their vitamin C within a few weeks of harvest, even when stored in cold storage or frozen.
The foods on the grocery story shelf with the highest nutritional value are usually the ones that arrived there in the fewest hours from being harvested by the grower.
Stored fruits and vegetables have lost their nutritional value, and are little more than sugar bombs within weeks of being harvested. (Seasonal eating just escalated in importance.)
Most importantly, buyers at the wholesale and retail level will be able to assess the nutritional quality of the crops they are buying in January of 2020.
If you are even slightly interested in nutrient density, how food quality will be assessed and farm products purchased differently in the next few years, this podcast episode is a must-listen. You are really missing out if you pass it up.