Did you know that it is possible to regenerate your garden and grow nutrient-dense foods in a non-toxic way?
If you are yet to embrace organic farming then you are certainly missing out on a lot!
Growing nutrient-dense foods requires a proper balance between soil minerals and nutrients. Remember, your food tastes delicious because it has the right nutrients you need. Nutrient-rich foods nourish the body and naturally taste better, even without the additives and flavors.
Consequently, the compost manure you use must contain the nutrients in a form that the vegetables, fruits, or cereals can easily absorb. Plants that absorb the nutrients they need are less affected by insects and diseases.
Your main task as a gardener is to ensure that your soil contains the right nutrients for the plants to flourish.
Even foods like spinach have different nutrients depending on the soil quality, existing minerals, and nutrients available for the plants grown in the garden.
Therefore, to enjoy nutrient-dense foods, you must incorporate good gardening practices.
This article will cover the following:
- What are nutrient-dense foods?
- Top nutrient-dense foods to grow
- How to get nutrient-dense foods at home
- A review of modern gardening practices people use to grow nutritious foods
- Unhealthy gardening practices to avoid if you want to grow nutrient-dense foods
- How to grow nutrient-dense plants
- Balance soil calcium levels
- Enhance soil microbe activity
- How to improve soil quality for nutrient-dense foods
- What are the benefits of having healthy soil for nutrient-dense foods?
- The top reason why you should use microbial inoculation to grow nutrient-dense foods
- Final Thoughts on how to grow nutrient-dense foods
What are nutrient-dense foods?
Nutrient-dense foods refer to foods that offer plenty of nutrients (vitamins, fibers, minerals, and phytochemicals) and a limited number of calories to promote healthy living.
Nutrient-dense food concentrates on what your body needs besides calories. Examples include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins.
Most western diets are high in energy-dense foods but low in nutrient-dense foods. Examples of high energy or calorie-dense foods include processed meat, refined carbohydrates, packaged snacks, and fried foods.
You will enjoy numerous health benefits by focusing on nutrient-dense foods as opposed to energy-dense foods.
Nutrient-dense foods focus more on nutritional value and less on the number of calories. For example, an apple and a bag of chips with the same number of calories have different nutritional values. The apple has a higher nutrient density than a bag of chips.
Benefits of nutrient-dense foods include:
- Low risk of chronic diseases
- Reduced risk of obesity
- Improves your nutritional status/li>
- Contain vital minerals and vitamins that boost your health and overall well-being
- Prevents the formation of cancer cells
- Excellent source of phytochemicals
- Excellent source of fibers useful in lowering type 2 diabetes and the risk of heart disease, while improving digestive tract health
Top nutrient-dense foods to grow
Vegetables and fruits are real nutritional superstars. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, but super-rich in nutrients. These foods provide minerals, vitamins, fibers, and phytochemicals. You should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to maximize nutrient diversity.
For instance, eat vegetables and fruits of different colors. Orange and yellow vegetables and fruits contain plenty of carotenoids, while onions and garlic are abundant allyl sulfides.
Moreover, purple and blue vegetables or fruits contain plenty of anthocyanins. Different vegetables and fruits have different minerals and vitamins.
Legumes and grains, like vegetables and fruits are rich in phytochemicals, fibers, minerals, and vitamins. Also, legumes and grains have both insoluble and soluble fibers. Besides, they are naturally low in fats.
How to get nutrient-dense foods at home
Gardening provides an opportunity to grow an amazing variety of nutrient-dense foods. It ensures that your plants have the right nutrients. fully maximizing their genetic potential to give you nutrient-dense foods.
Establish a gardening system that benefits both you and the plants. It should fit into your busy modern lifestyle without using up too much space, time, or supplies. Your plants need the correct nutrients, sunlight, and support to grow well.
Use a high-performance gardening system aimed at giving you abundant nutrient-dense foods. A good gardening system considers factors like soil quality, plants, and the supporting cast of microorganisms.
You need perfect garden soil and to maintain its advantage. You can grow your nutrient-dense foods at a fraction of the price it takes to buy the same foods from the store. Besides, it’s an opportunity to control your nutrition.
A review of modern gardening practices people use to grow nutritious foods
It’s vital to meet the demand for abundant and cheap food. However, this has pushed many people to depend on fertilizers and other chemicals.
Overusing chemicals and fertilizers destroys the microorganisms in the soil. In simple terms, chemicals and fertilizers destroy the soil, forcing the plants to depend on the same fertilizers and chemicals to survive.
Without these microorganisms in the soil, it becomes difficult for plants to get the nutrients and minerals they need. As a result, your food won’t contain vital minerals and nutrients either. This will ultimately affect your health and overall well-being.
Unhealthy gardening practices to avoid
If your plants don’t get the right nutrients and minerals, your food will not contain the essential nutrients your body needs.
With this in mind, many gardeners focus on organic matter and NPK in the soil. However, never forget the role that the soil food web and other trace materials play in improving the soil quality.
With that said, adding fertilizers and chemicals to boost NPK values creates a vicious cycle. Synthetic fertilizers damage the soil’s ecosystem and microorganisms, subsequently leading to stunted growth and poor-performing gardens.
Relying on fertilizers means your crops won’t be able to survive without these chemicals.
To avoid this, add homemade compost to increase organic matter in the soil. In case there are deficiencies or nutrient imbalances in your soil, use compost made from plants that contain the missing nutrients.
How To Grow Nutrient Dense Plants
The assumption here is that you already know the basics of good soil management, such as mulching, watering, and adding organic matter. Growing nutrient-dense plants starts by improving soil quality. Here are two key tips on how to grow nutrient-rich crops:
- Balance soil calcium levels
Calcium is essential for both plants and animals. Calcium is also vital for plant nutrition and growth, including cell wall development. Calcium in the soil assists with maintaining the chemical balance, improving water penetration, reducing salinity, and promoting microbe activity.
Plants growing in calcium-deficient soils have problems absorbing nutrients, lack robustness, and are less nutritious. Conduct a soil test to determine if the calcium level is optimal or depleted.
Most plants do well in pH levels of 5.5-7.5. If the calcium level is low, take action to improve the nutritional uptake of the minerals by the plants.
Calcium and phosphorus go hand-in-hand, which is vital for photosynthesis, moisture regulation, plant metabolism, respiration, and overall plant health. A weak plant means that your soil has a calcium and phosphorus deficiency.
- Enhance soil microbe activity
Soil is an ecosystem that is home to insects, worms, microbes, and enzymes. Essentially, it’s a food web that has a symbiotic relationship with the plant roots to ensure that the plants have access to minerals and nutrients.
In short, the soil is the heart, immune system, and lungs of your garden. If the soil is unhealthy then you have nutrient-deficient produce. You will be missing out on vital health benefits as the products are inferior.
Microbes form a symbiotic relationship with plants to ensure that they can absorb minerals. Therefore, your job is to keep the microbes happy by cultivating the soil properly to ensure that the plants reach their full genetic potential.
For instance, you ensure that the soil has nutrients for both microbial and plant absorption. Mother nature balances the soil ecosystem and ensures that your plants have what they need as long as you provide the ideal conditions.
Therefore, it is essential to have healthy garden soil since the nutrients found in quality soil are eventually transferred to the plants. Adding supplements and compost doesn’t help much if crucial soil life is lacking.
A healthy ecology gives you robust yields, while it allows the plant to resist pests and diseases. You enjoy high-quality, nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits.
How to improve soil quality for nutrient-dense foods
Incorporate the following cycle in your gardening:
- Soil test
- Adding what is deficient without being excessive
- Microbial digestion/li>
- Nutrient depletion or plant uptake
Every time you use the cycle, your soil quality improves. The first year of the cycle will notably improve both the yield and flavor. By the time you get to the third year, your soil will be almost ideal, and you will enjoy the tastiest nutrient-dense food. Nevertheless, keep repeating the cycle to fine-tune your soil.
As the soil pattern improves, so does your food flavor and nutrient density. Your family benefits immensely from eating nutritious vegetables, cereals, and fruits. However, never overdo it. It is the cardinal rule in gardening.
Violating the cardinal rule leads to poorly tasting food. In most cases, gardeners add compost even when the soil has enough, disrupting the mineral balance and ratio.
As a result, you get low quality produce. Growing nutrient-dense foods is important, representing products that are not readily available in the marketplace.
What are the benefits of healthy soil for nutrient-dense foods?
Strong soil biology coupled with nutrient-rich soil is healthy for your garden. It allows your plants to get the nutrients they need to give you the nutrient-dense food you desire.
Besides, plants growing in this soil environment are more resistant to diseases and pests that target organisms that are not fit for reproduction. Larvae and grubs have simple digestive systems that can only digest simple carbohydrates.
Healthy plants that absorb essential nutrients and minerals contain complete proteins and complex carbohydrates, rendering the plants inedible to pests.
Then again, with increased pest resistance, these plants grow in healthy or quality soil, and store excess energy as lipids.
The lipids strengthen the plant, providing it with thicker cell walls. This renders the plants more resistant to diseases like blight and airborne pathogens, like mildew.
Plants containing high lipid levels contain essential oils, which represent the plant’s immune system and are very valuable. Consequently, the essential oils make the plants more resistant to pests with complex digestive systems.
Most importantly, essential oils are vital for the human body. Growing crops in healthy soil ensures that you consume more essential oils, maintaining your health. It is a win-win situation. As long as the plants contain essential minerals and nutrients, you too benefit from the vital nutrient-dense foods.
The top reason why you should use microbial inoculation to grow nutrient-dense foods
Besides adding nutrient-rich humus, you can add Mycorrhizae as a microbial inoculation.
Quality microbes enhance soil quality, inoculating it with essential enzymes, minerals, and valuable microbes that support a healthy soil ecology for healthy plant growth.
The plants enjoy strong nutrient uptake, allowing you to consume delicious nutrient-dense foods.
Final Thoughts on how to grow nutrient-dense foods
Growing nutrient-dense foods offers you a chance to consume healthy foods that are beneficial to your body. The human body needs nutrients to fight diseases and infections, which informs the sudden shift from calorie- to nutrient-dense foods.
Healthy soil has plenty of biological activity, nutrients, minerals, and sufficient water.
In gardening, your objective is to keep the soil at its best by incorporating healthy practices that protect the delicate symbiotic balance. Boost your soil microbes with premium Mycorrhizae inoculation.