Thursday, September 19, 2013

Some Fruits are Better Than Others...

Blueberry Data
In the headlines this month:
"Some Fruits Are Better Than Others"
Our local Toledo Blade picked up on the story today and here's Dr. Mercola's take on this research.
 The "reader pick" comments on the NYTimes article are interesting, but they all miss a vital point - the quality of the fruit makes a big difference. Quality is something that is seldom mentioned in an intelligent way - that is, more than just 'it looks good and is nice and big.' Some folks lift the fruit to get a feel for the 'heft', feeling that density reflects better fruit. And of course the taste is important to quality, but far too much fruit is poor in that respect. Those big huge strawberries they may have tested were probably nearly tasteless.

Some folks have been digging into the genuine source of quality, and have found that mineral content is an important factor. Jamil, in his blog, High Nutrition Blueberries Nutrition Analysis: Why Are They Better Than Wild/Organic?, has been looking at this aspect and has an a chart showing the mineral content of various blueberries, including some by a farmer who has been working to remineralize his soil, so as to get top quality and high nutrition. The chart above from this blog shows higher levels of most minerals and a couple key vitamins in the high nutrition blueberry.

Why is this so important? The research highlighted in the NYTimes article says eating apples, grapes, grapefruit, and especially blueberries was associated with decreased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. One comment claims that to avoid diabetes cut down on carbs. Another says cut out processed foods. Another comment says 'no, it's a matter of insulin resistance,' but he's not sure what causes that. Well, minerals have a lot to do with that! People eat large quantities of refined carbs (you know, white bread, pasta, white sugar), which have had the minerals stripped out of them. Processed foods contain refined carbs and modern vegetable oils, which add another piece to the puzzle, as these modern oils are highly subject to oxidation. Oxidized oils create all kinds of problems in the body, including contributing to insulin resistance. In addition, Dr. Mercola highlights the problems with too much fructose in fruit.

But, in truth, those missing minerals are key to proper body function. We took them out because white flour is nicer, and so much easier to work with, figuring we'd just get the vitamin and minerals from elsewhere or by 'fortifying' the flour.  But now we see that "elsewhere" is also low in vitamins and minerals. (see Food Quality Issues) As a result, between refined foods and low quality unrefined foods, mineral deficiencies are common in American today. Diabetes is just the tip of the iceberg. Heart disease, cancer, and a host of chronic disease conditions are caused by or made worse by mineral deficiencies. Eating blueberries instead of strawberries is only going to get us so far.

So where do we go from here? Start thinking about quality. Pay attention to taste - high quality tastes better. Pay attention to keeping quality - high quality keeps better. Get yourself a refractometer and do some actual testing. Buy from a farmer that has better quality produce - and let him know you appreciate his efforts. Grow some of your own food and learn how to garden for Maximum Nutrition.

It's not simple like taking a vitamin/mineral tablet, but likely to be much more effective!