October 4, 2012

Better Soil = More Antioxidants in Tomatoes!

In 2007, the American Chemical Society's Journal of Food and Agricultural Chemistry published an interesting study with some exciting findings: Soil Quality from Long-term Organic Management Nearly Doubles Flavonoids in Organic Tomatoes! This is good news for our health and further evidence of the benefits of healthy soil!

Flavanoids are a type of antioxidant that help us to fight cancer-causing free radicals in the body. They are part of a group of compounds found in plants that prevent aging, increase cardiovascular health and help us to ward off all types of illnesses from the common cold to even the spread of cancer. Needless to say, we want more flavonoids in our diet. Flavanoids can be commonly found in most fruits and vegetables as well as wine, tea and chocolate. Plant breeders and farmers rarely breed for higher nutritional quality but instead focus on quick-ripening and longer shelf life. Compounds like flavonoids and other nutrients are often diminished in the process. However, this study shows that building the soil alone can increase nutritional quality in tomatoes- regardless of the breeding! They go on to say that the longer a field is under organic cultivation, the more these compounds appeared in the tomatoes. How does it work? While there are many plausible reasons for this, here is my theory: Organically-grown produce is not doused with chemical pesticides that kill all pathogens and insects. Therefore, the plant must combat these invaders themselves. How do plants fight? With phytochemicals (no pun intended), flavonoids, and other antioxidants! Organic soil generally has better soil structure and microbial communities than conventional soil (which generally only has chemical NPK fertilizers added). The microbes increase nutrient availability so plants have more compounds with which to fight off invading disease and pest infestations. This increases the amount of flavonoids and other healthful compounds found in the plants. The same chemicals that plants make to ward off disease are the ones we need in our bodies to do the same thing!

Photo thanks to Laura Taylor[/caption]   Once again, the scientific community proves that healthy soil is the key to healthy humans! Organic produce, grown in microbe-rich soil, has an increased amount of antioxidants which helps us to ward off all types of sickness in both the short and the long-term. Increase the health of your plants by using John and Bob’s in your soil. All four of our products improve microbial populations in the soil, while adding in other elements of essential organic matter and plant food. Learn more about John and Bob’s products here. Read the full report on this fascinating study here.