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Soil Health = Human Health

Jul 30, 2017
by Kellen Watson, Daily Acts

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This is the time of year when many of us gardeners, if we’re lucky, have counters laden with about 100 zucchinis and all kinds of other produce pumping out of the garden. It’s probably the healthiest food out there right? Well...maybe. New science is showing how important soil health is for human health and the long-term prevention of chronic illnesses. And many of us don’t have all the minerals we need for truly healthy soil, so we may be shorting our own health.

Dan Kittredge, founder of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) and the person who got my wheels turning on soil’s link to health writes on his website:

Plant DNA“The saying "You are what you eat," is from a technical standpoint quite true. Our bodies are made up of the things that we eat, and this is a major reason for the great interest in food and the burgeoning food movement. Many people have correlated processed foods, adulterated foods, genetically modified foods, and foods that have carcinogens as being negative to their own personal wellbeing. Those who are attentive to these facts have begun to source better quality, more natural, organic, local and other types of foods that perhaps their great-grandparents ate with the understanding that there is an inherent value in simple, natural healthy food. That’s why many of us garden too.

The only problem with this move towards healthier food is that even though one may be able to buy a bag of organic carrots, or a local fresh tomato, the actual nutrient levels in these crops vary dramatically with farmer, season, and seed. Some organic carrots are sweet and flavorful and children will fight over them, and some organic carrots have a bitter, woody taste. It turns out that those flavor differences correlate very closely with nutritional differences.

The term that we have coined to talk about the taste and nutrient level of a particular produce item is “Bionutrient.” As in, what is the Bionutrient level of that carrot? So those carrots that have a delicious flavor have a much higher level of bionutrients than that bitter carrot, and those bionutrients are exactly what your body needs as it builds cells, regulates hormones and manages all of its system functions.

As an example, the average human body contains something on the order of 4 trillion cells. Between 60-70% of those cells replace themselves every 6 months. That means that about 15 billion cells in your body are replacing themselves every day. Each of those cells has a nucleus in it that contains your DNA and each strand of DNA requires at least 45 separate minerals to replicate itself properly. The numbers quickly become more than the average person wants to spend too much time thinking about, but the point is that the nutrients in your food, which is what your body uses to replicate DNA and build itself, constantly have a key role to play in your overall health. As your body begins to find itself without the key minerals it needs to go through its biological processes completely it begins to degenerate, and DNA begins to replicate incorrectly, which can lead to many degenerative age-related diseases.

”The great news for us as gardeners is that the very same nutrients that help our bodies function well also help our plants thrive. So we can boost our health and prevent plant disease, rot, and pest infection at the same time by boosting the necessary trace minerals in our soil. For instance, boron is essential for proper DNA replication in humans and in most soil microbes, so a little boron could help your tomatoes form better symbiotic relationships with soil biology and help you prevent cancer. What exactly you need to add to your soil depends on soil tests and signs in your plants, but applications of rock dust, sea minerals, and other trace minerals could be simple and effective health investments...and make your job as a gardener easier.

I could go on and on, but need to keep it to this page for now. I highly recommend you do some reading on the Bionutrient Food Association website at www.bionutrient.org. You can also join our local chapter, which is being run by Daily Actors and friends. Lastly, Daily Acts has some great events coming up if you’re interested in the link between food and health:

Workshop: Preparing Healing Foods - Cooking from the Garden with Ceres Community Project August 5th, 10:30am – 1:00pm Sebastopol Farm to Table Dinner: Soil to Supper August 19th, 6:00 – 9:00pm Petaluma Sign up on our website, www.dailyacts.org!

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