Do harvested vegetables lose nutrition over time? Are veggies grown in healthy soil more nutritious?

Asked October 24, 2019, 12:51 PM EDT

I recently read a statistic that vegetables lose 45% of their nutrients after five days of harvest. Is this true? Are there studies to support this? Are vegetables grown in healthy soil that uses ecological growing practices more nutritious? Has this been measured?

Washtenaw County Michigan

2 Responses

Much research has been done to confirm that nutrients begin to decrease as soon as the food is harvested. But the actual decrease can vary by nutrient, food and also how you store the produce.
Below is a link to a Univ. of Kentucky article about how to preserve the nutrients in your food.

Regarding your question about the impact of healthy soil, I am including a link below to a Purdue University article which provides more information about factors influencing quality of the produce including plant selection, mineral nutrition, soil moisture, growing temperature and harvest time. You will see that there are many things you can do to impact your produce.

And finally, I did not know if you are aware or would be interested in a wonderful MSU web site designed for those who wish to be Smart Gardeners. The link to the vegetable section is included below. Hope that helps.

Thank you Diane for this helpful information. It's good to have some data to support the assertions that are often made about the health benefits of ecologically grown vegetables. The statistic I read was out context and did not give the whole story - thanks for helping to provide a more complete picture!