Oct 28, 2013

Benefits of Organic Farming

What is organic farming?

Organic farming works in harmony with nature rather than against it. This involves using techniques to achieve good crop yields without harming the natural environment or the people who live and work in it. The methods and materials that organic farmers use are summarized as follows:

To keep and build good soil structure and fertility:
• recycled and composted crop wastes and animal manures
• the right soil cultivation at the right time
• crop rotation
• green manures and legumes
• mulching on the soil surface

To control pests, diseases and weeds:
• careful planning and crop choice
• the use of resistant crops
• good cultivation practice
• crop rotation
• encouraging useful predators that eat pests
• increasing genetic diversity
• using natural pesticides

Organic farming does not mean going ‘back’ to traditional methods. Many of the farming methods used in the past are still useful today. Organic farming takes the best of these and combines them with modern scientific knowledge. Organic farmers do not leave their farms to be taken over by nature; they use all the knowledge, techniques and materials available to work with nature. In this way the farmer creates a healthy balance between nature and farming, where crops and animals can grow and thrive.

On an organic farm, each technique would not normally be used on its own. The farmer would use a range of organic methods at the same time to allow them to work together for the maximum benefit. For example the use of green manures and careful cultivation, together provide better control of weeds than if the techniques were used on their own.

8 Benefits of Organic Farming
What would happen if what you’re doing at home with your small organic garden could be reproduced on a mass scale?

Here are eight benefits we might see:

1. The Promotion of Biodiversity
Organic methods such as rotating crops to build soil fertility and naturally raising animals helps to promote biodiversity, which returns health to each species. Organic farms are havens to wildlife, so our ecosystems are improved, as well.

2. The Reduction of Farm Pollution
No, there’s no such thing as “farm smog,” but conventional farms di create their own kind of pollution in the form of chemical pesticide and synthetic fertilizer run-off that harms the areas around them. With these chemicals removed from the equation, organic farming is far more beneficial and less impactful on our environment.

3. The Reduction of Toxic Substances in the Environment
Organic farming is not simply the substitution of approved input materials. It is the replacement of a treatment approach with a process approach to create a balanced system of plant and animal interactions. Over 900 million acres of land subjected to chemicals for fertilizer and pesticides, as well as other substances used in livestock farming. Any reduction of this number would have a benefit to the environment around us.

3. Better-Tasting Food
It’s not just imaginary: organic food actually can taste better than its conventionally farm-raised counterpart. One scientific reason for this is that some organic produce has lower nitrate contents than its non-organic version. This leads to sweeter-tasting fruits that also have been shown to contain higher levels of antioxidants. So it’s not really all in your head. Organic farming can lead to better flavor.

4. Better Soil
A Cornell University study estimates that conventional farming’s dependency on chemical fertilizers destroys topsoil, which generates a $40 billion annual loss. If organic methods were used – instead of chemical fertilizers and ammonia – we would instead see an increase in the healthiness of this topsoil, which in turn would produce fruit and vegetables higher in minerals and micronutrients.

5. Job Creation
The most recent statistics from the Organic Farming Research Foundation indicate that there are more than 10,000 certified organic producers in the United States. Compare that to the nearly 2 million conventional farms. However, the organic farms are more profitable – even though they often require more employees. It’s not difficult to equate the economic benefit and job creation that a shift to organic farming would create.

6. Assisting the Fight Against Climate Change
Because organic farming eschews chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it reduces nonrenewable energy use. It takes considerable amounts of fossil fuel to create the synthetic fertilizers and pesticides used in conventional farming. What’s more, organic farming increases the amount of carbon returned to the soil, which in turn lessens the impact on the greenhouse effect and global warming.

7. Safer Water
The runoff of chemicals from conventional farming seeps into groundwater supplies, and groundwater pollution has become a serious issue. Soil itself is a natural water filter. Organic farming enriches the soil, which not only removes the risk of groundwater pollution but can also act as a way to rehabilitate soil in areas where damage to water supplies has already occurred.

8. Preservation of the Culture of Agriculture
It is said that every culture shares one thing in common: Food. It is a universal celebration. Organic farming celebrates healthfulness and biodiversity. It removes damaging chemical toxins from our environment and our food. That is something to promote and foster!

Oct 11, 2013

Healthiest of ........ Dark Green Leafy Vegetables


Do you know which color of vegetables is the most nutritious and beneficial in our food supply? The answer comes as no surprise: dark green, leafy vegetables.

Most of us avoid eating green and leafy vegetables, and for some it, would be the last choice to have. In spite of our grandmothers continuous explanations about the benefits of eating green and leafy vegetables, as a child, we often hated eating green veggies, and would finish eating only if were offered a good tempting dessert. Similarly, almost every visit at the pediatrician during childhood would end up in a conversation discussing the amount of greens we would consume during a week- without any significant improvement in dietary habits. Very few people eat their greens and actually enjoy eating them; some are new starters and still love eating them; as they are aware of all the good benefits that green leafy vegetables contain. 

Eat Green - leafy and other colourful vegetables to stay Healthy and fit.Green and green leafy vegetables are rich source of essential minerals and vitamins;they help to detoxify our body and regular intake of vegetables helps to keep away the serious diseases.

Dark green leafy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses filled with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They are rich in chlorophyll, which alkalinizes the blood, and fiber, which keeps the colon healthy. The USDA recommends eating one-half cup of green leafy vegetables each day to prevent nutrient deficiencies and serious illnesses. There are many varieties of edible green leaves, and they are most nutritious when eaten raw or lightly steamed. These vegetables are packed with vitamins A, C, E and K, minerals, and an abundance of phytochemicals so vast that nutrition professionals are still trying to uncover all of their goodness. 

Green foods are crucial to our health for a plethora of reasons including their role in strengthening the immune system, cancer prevention, improved blood circulation, blood purification, lowering cholesterol, promotion of healthy intestinal flora, increased energy, detoxification through improved liver, gall bladder functions, kidney function, and even clearing congestion.

THE 10 BEST LEAFY GREENS

1. MICROGREENS
  • Here’s proof that great things come in small packages. Microgreens—which are the underdeveloped greens of vegetables such as kale, arugula, and broccoli that are harvested just one to two weeks after planting—are a treasure trove of vital nutrients. A 2012 study lead by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that several varieties of microgreens including cabbage and cilantro contain nutrient levels such as vitamins C and E up to six times greater than those found in the mature plants. During early development, vegetables need a full arsenal of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support their growth, so they’re packed with more of the good stuff. Ranging in flavor from peppery to tangy, use microgreens to punch up salads, soups, and sandwiches.
2. KALE
  • When it comes to grown-up greens, kale is deserving of its superfood epithet. It absolutely smashes its competitors in terms of lutein, a potent antioxidant shown to protect eyesight, and leads the way with respect to beta-carotene and vitamin C. As a member of the Brassica family along with broccoli and Brussels sprouts, kale also brings sulforaphane to the table, a phytonutrient shown to have cancer-fighting properties. Steaming or sautéing kale will mellow this all-star’s bitter flavor.
3. SPINACH
  • Perhaps Popeye should have been a nutritionist instead of a sailor. Among the greens, spinach harbors the most folate, and according to a recent American Journal of Epidemiology study, consuming more of this B vitamin helps protect against breast cancer development, likely because folate is needed for proper cell division. Spinach is also tops when it comes to potassium, which is necessary for muscle functioning and to keep blood pressure numbers in a healthy range.
4. MUSTARD GREENS
  • As the name implies, these are the lacy-edged leaves of the same plant that produces mustard seeds. Mustard greens tend to be a little less bitter and more peppery tasting than kale or Swiss chard and come second to only kale in beta-carotene. In our bodies, beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A to bolster eye and bone health. The greens also contain an arsenal of phytonutrients called glucosinolates that can rev up detoxification enzymes to help protect the cells of our liver and other organs from all the nasties of free-radical damage.
5. COLLARD GREENS
  • This Southern favorite has large, leathery leaves and a somewhat mild flavor, but its tough texture calls for longer cooking times than other greens. On top of providing a payload of vitamin K, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, collards contain higher amounts of dietary fiber than other leafy greens. A 2012 Swedish study found that women who ate the most fiber had almost a 25 percent lower risk of suffering heart disease than those who consumed the least.
6. SWISS CHARD
  • There are two primary varieties of Swiss chard in markets: one with multi-colored stems and veins, called rainbow chard, and another with white stems and veins. Both types have a slightly bitter taste that wanes once cooked. Among chard’s many nutritional highlights is more vitamin K than any other green—three times the daily quota in a mere cup serving. On top of its role in proper blood clotting, vitamin K helps fortify bone strength and Dutch researchers recently determined that high intakes can slash the risk for type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
7. ARUGULA
  • Arugula has a pungent, peppery flavor that has worked its way into the recipes of many rock star chefs. You’ll most often find it at the grocery store in plastic containers alongside baby spinach. Vegans, those lactose-intolerant, and anyone who doesn’t like milk should note that arugula is a surprisingly good source of calcium—it has more of this bone-builder than the other greens on this list. Loading up on arugula may also help you breeze through your workouts since it has high levels of natural nitrates—what your body uses to nitric oxide, which increases muscle blood flow—that Swedish scientists found can help your muscles work more efficiently during exercise.
8. ROMAINE
  • If darker greens are too bitter to swallow, try this crispy lettuce. The medley of nutrients romaine provides includes beta-carotene, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Science shows that women who consume higher amounts of vitamin C have healthier blood pressure numbers. Heads of romaine tend to be more perishable than heartier greens, though, so store them in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel for up to three days.
9. BUTTERHEAD
  • Resembling a blooming rose with deliciously tender light green leaves, many people find eating raw butterhead lettuce more appetizing than the robust darker greens. Swap out your carby tortillas or flatbreads for the large, pliable leaves when making wraps for a good dose of vitamin K and manganese, a mineral necessary for proper carbohydrate and protein metabolism. And like other greens, this leafy green is exceptionally low-cal—a cup will set you back a mere seven calories.
10. ICEBERG
  • This vegetables is far from nutritional nirvana. Made up mostly of water, iceberg lettuce pales, so to speak, in comparison to darker greens in terms of vitamins, minerals, and disease-busting antioxidants. Still, with just 10 calories in a shredded cup, it won’t do any harm to your beach body and its toothsome crunch can enliven sandwiches, tacos, and mixed green salads.
Banner2