Article: Breeding the Nutrition out of Our Food
Eating healthy food is among the most important things. This article undermines the value of wild food plants, as well as pointing out what damage we inflicted on ourselves with the domestication of plants
Hippocrates proclaimed nearly 2,500 years ago: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
“Much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.”
Furthermore, the article offers a lot of interesting examples for just how healthier wild foods were:
“Wild dandelions, once a springtime treat for Native Americans, have seven times more phytonutrients than spinach, which we consider a “superfood.” A purple potato native to Peru has 28 times more cancer-fighting anthocyanins than common russet potatoes. One species of apple has a staggering 100 times more phytonutrients than the Golden Delicious displayed in our supermarkets”
Wild foods often taste bitter or sour, which is considered unpleasant to most people. The author writes:
“Each fruit and vegetable in our stores has a unique history of nutrient loss, I’ve discovered, but there are two common themes. Throughout the ages, our farming ancestors have chosen the least bitter plants to grow in their gardens. It is now known that many of the most beneficial phytonutrients have a bitter, sour or astringent taste. Second, early farmers favored plants that were relatively low in fiber and high in sugar, starch and oil. These energy-dense plants were pleasurable to eat and provided the calories needed to fuel a strenuous lifestyle. The more palatable our fruits and vegetables became, however, the less advantageous they were for our health.”
In the following he gives a perfect example by telling the story of the domestication of corn.
This article is another example for what we call the paradox of scientific progress (the more science advances, the more it renders itself obsolete), since it was advancing science that made it possible to create the unhealthy domesticated plants that we eat, and now science discovers just how unhealthy they actually are and that we are better off eating wild vegetables – which we would have done in the first place if it wasn’t for the advancement of science (concomitant to the advancement of civilization).