Is Hydroponic Basil as Healthy?

Is Hydroponic Basil as Healthy?
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The antioxidant, phytonutrient, and vitamin content of basil grown in water (hydroponic) is compared to basil grown in soil.

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At one of the farmers markets I go to, there’s a farmer with a hydroponic greenhouse, such that I can get fresh basil all year round. But I was always curious how hydroponic basil—grown in water—compared nutritionally to basil grown in soil.

Well, here we go. Same seeds; one in water, and one in soil. What do you think they found in terms of vitamin content, antioxidant content, and phytonutrient content?

The hydroponic basil won hands down; more antioxidant power, and more vitamins and key phytonutrients. Why? Because the basil doesn’t like it. It’s the same reason organic greens are healthier; they get bitten by bugs, and in defense, they manufacture more of those wonderful glucosinolate compounds that are so good for us. Likewise, under environmental stress, drowning in the water, basil may release these phenolic antioxidant phytochemicals, like rosmarinic acid, to protect itself, and we can reap the benefits.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Amanda Slater and Natalie Maynor via flickr.

At one of the farmers markets I go to, there’s a farmer with a hydroponic greenhouse, such that I can get fresh basil all year round. But I was always curious how hydroponic basil—grown in water—compared nutritionally to basil grown in soil.

Well, here we go. Same seeds; one in water, and one in soil. What do you think they found in terms of vitamin content, antioxidant content, and phytonutrient content?

The hydroponic basil won hands down; more antioxidant power, and more vitamins and key phytonutrients. Why? Because the basil doesn’t like it. It’s the same reason organic greens are healthier; they get bitten by bugs, and in defense, they manufacture more of those wonderful glucosinolate compounds that are so good for us. Likewise, under environmental stress, drowning in the water, basil may release these phenolic antioxidant phytochemicals, like rosmarinic acid, to protect itself, and we can reap the benefits.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Amanda Slater and Natalie Maynor via flickr.

Nota del Doctor

Herbs and spices are among the healthiest plants to consume. See one of my favorites, for example: Antioxidants in a Pinch, and Antioxidant Content of 3,139 Foods. The glucosinolates I mention are the broccoli compounds featured in videos such as Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem CellsSulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast; and The Best Detox. For how our food crops have been doing in general over the years, see Crop Nutrient Decline. And for more on the organic question, see Can Pesticides Be Rinsed Off? and Fungal Toxins in Apples

For further context, check out my associated blog post, Antioxidants in a Pinch: Dried Herbs and Spices.

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