Friday, 14 March 2008

Dietary diversity

The theory behind preserving and protecting seeds at Svalbard and the banana species in Belgium and Montpellier sometimes seems a bit remote. The genetic material preserved in all these different species may be used to breed crops, trees, animals, which may be better able to withstand conditions which may occur in the future.

At times it all seems a little theoretical, even though we know that over the last 50 years, crops have become more uniform, and in the last five years, 60 breeds have been lost. Many breeds have not yet been identified and may be lost before anything is know about them.

However the meaning of it all is more immediate when we look at some of the traditional fruits, vegetables and condiments used in the world. For most of the world’s food crops, information about the nutritional properties of different varieties does not exist.

grains of black rice

Photo from Flickr user ijnek29. Creative Commons licence.

  • Korean black rice contains five times as much iron as white rice.

Karat and Manila bananas

Photo from Lois Englberger, Bioversity. Creative Commons licence.

  • The karat and other orange fleshed bananas contain 25 times more vitamin A pre-cursor than the standard variety.

  • dried turmeric roots

    Photo by Flickr user Zero-X. Creative Commons licence.

  • Turmeric, the dried roots shown above, is a spice often used in curries and has anti-glycemic properties that make it ideal for diabetics.

  • filed of pumpkin leaves

    Photo from IPGRI, Bioversity. Creative Commons licence.

  • Lutein, found in leafy green vegetables, such as the pumpkin leaves above, is known to provide significant protection against cataracts and other eye diseases.

Efforts to use these traditional crops to fight malnutrition may have the added benefit of the same crops helping to counter the deficiencies of the modern "affluent" diet.

Will there be a demand for these fruits and vegetables I wonder. I do know that I try to eat my five portions a day and the thought that there could be even more benefit with a wider range of produce is really quite encouraging.


  1. Hello, A.
    Excellent information!
    I loved this pos.
    have a good weekend

  2. Thanks and thanks again
    You know why: 'cause you pin point something that is not political correct.

    The diversity (animals and plants) to day follows excatly the same patterns as for millions of years. The difference is "short timeknowledge" and on top of that CO2 - which gives everybody a bad feeling - let's pat fot it.

    Fact is:
    1 kg of beef to produce= 7 kg of grain. What area is then taken from CO2? Trees are depentent of CO2.
    10 cows - their Metangaz - gives enough energy for one household.
    And: 2025 Half of the world population will be without fresh Water.
    Who's to blame?
    Your Car or people eating red meat?
    Or, every rice seed releases Matan gaz, which is in fact 7x more serious to the climate asCO2.

    Have a great Easter

    ps. I'm only a postponded Viking


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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