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Healthy Soil, Food and People At the Rodale Institute, in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Andrew Smith directs the new Vegetable Systems Trial, a long-term, side-by-side comparison of both bio- logically organic and chemically based conventional vegetable production. An organic farmer with a Ph.D. in molecular ecology from Drexel University, in Phil- adelphia, Smith studies how soil quality and crop-growing conditions influence the nutrient density and health-protecting properties of specific vegetables. “Over the past 70 years, there’s been


a decline in the nutritional value of our foods,” reports Smith. “During this time, industrial agriculture, with its pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, increased yields and size of crops, but the tradeoff was a decline in nutrient content, known as the


‘dilution effect’.” In addition, Smith explains, greater levels of nitrogen fertilizer, typical of conventional production methods, may also increase a plant’s susceptibility to insects and disease. Smith’s research will give fellow farmers,


healthcare providers and consumers a better understanding of how crop produc- tion practices influence soil quality and therefore, food quality. For example, re- search of organic crops shows higher levels of vitamin C; higher-quality protein; plus more disease-fighting compounds called


secondary plant metabolites such as lyco- pene, polyphenols and anthocyanin, the plant pigment responsible for the red, blue and purple colors in fruits and vegetables, as reported in a meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Te Rodale Institute has formed part-


nerships with nutrition and medical re- searchers at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park. Of particular interest, for example, are extracts from purple po- tatoes that show promise in helping to kill colon cancer cells. Smith looks forward to identifying growing methods that boost levels of anthocyanin, as well as other health-protecting compounds in crops. Te new Regenerative Health Institute,


a global research and education center linking soil health to human health, will also be housed at the Rodale Institute. It’s a collaboration between Rodale staff and the Plantrician Project, a nonprofit organization in New Canaan, Connecticut, that promotes whole food and plant-based nutrition, and helps healthcare providers embrace food as medicine as the founda- tion of their practices. Jeff Moyer, a renowned internation-


al authority in organic agriculture and executive director of the Rodale Institute, explains, “It’s not only what you eat that’s important, but how what you eat was produced. Ultimately, our personal health is linked to the health of the soil.”


David Montgomery, a professor of geo-


morphology at the University of Washing- ton, in Seattle, has visited farms worldwide, witnessing how farmers use regenerative farming practices to bring degraded soil back to life. He learned that grazing ani- mals, cover-cropping and no-till farming free of synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides protects and enriches the soil microbiome, which contributes to the nu- trient density of plants and human health.


We Are What We and


Our Animals Eat Along with our well-being, livestock farming methods impact our environment, too. A growing body of research including a new study published in Food Science & Nutrition shows that meat and dairy prod- ucts from animals raised mostly on grass or pasture—as nature intended—contain significantly higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids compared to grain-fed animals. Tese nat- urally occurring fats help protect us from inflammation, heart disease and cancer. Important in brain, eye and nerve devel- opment, omega-3 fatty acids are especially critical for pregnant and breastfeeding women and their infants. Organic farmers, by law, must provide


their ruminant animals with signifi- cant time on pasture and may not feed them genetically engineered feed or


• Serving patients and their families with restorative care using tooth-colored dental materials


• Providing dental treatment for medically-compromised patients and those with allergies and chemical sensitivities


• Offering initial exams, consultations, second opinion evaluations, and collaboration with patients’ health care providers


MICHAEL D. FLEMING, DDS, PA JOHANNA LERZUNDY, DDS


1858 Hillandale Road Ste 200 • Durham, NC 27705 919-471-1064 • www.drmichaelfleming.com


28 NA Triangle www.natriangle.com


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