DAILY we read advertisements and articles attempting to persuade us to buy manufactured vitamin tablets to supplement vitamin deficient diets. How much better to eat the vitamins as nature intended by growing and eating fruit and vegetables known to contain the main vitamins and minerals that we apparently need for continuous good health or for recovery of illnesses.
Interestingly the labels on some bottles of vitamin pills include the note ‘Not intended as a substitute for a balanced diet.’ Further, health authorities worldwide now recommend that we eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day for their vitamin and mineral contents, while others emphasise that these are best if fresh and grown ecologically/organically without the use of chemical fertilisers, insecticides and fungicides.
In addition the Slow Food movement recommends we should try and eat local produce to sustain the local economy and reduce distribution and warehousing costs.
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So let’s do it by growing our own in containers on apartment terraces, in raised beds in small gardens, in the open garden or if convenient an allotment/huerto. The great advantages are that you can focus on growing those fruits and vegetables with the greatest beneficial vitamin and mineral contents and harvest each day just what is required for each meal or day to prevent storage degradations.
To help you understand which vitamins, minerals etc are of benefit to your wellness and which vegetables and fruits are beneficial, descriptive tables are included in my book ‘Living well from our garden – Mediterranean style.’ Incidentally I am interested in talking about this topic as well as general gardening topics to social and gardening clubs.
Whatever you select to grow consider including anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory vitamin/ mineral rich foods. Include plenty of dark green acelga (chard) and spinach leaves, sprouting broccoli, tomatoes, nasturtium flowers and leaves, rocket, garlic, onions, tomatoes, radishes, beetroots and carrots.
As for fruit, aim to be able to harvest something on every day of the year to give seasonal diversity ranging from vitamin C packed mandarins and oranges from October to May, red raspberries from May to November and by planting a perpetually flowering and fruiting Lunar lemon tree, healthy lemons can be harvested 365 days a year.
As a novelty plant try a Citrus medica var.sarcodactylis lemon tree. The common name is Buddha’s hand as it resembles a half open fist. Remember working in the garden, on the vegetable plot or in the orchard stimulates the production of natural vitamin D.