Part 1: Summary
Nutrient requirements vary depending on individual factors including age, gender, body composition, physical activity and psychological stress (1). The body maintains nutrient stores based on previous nutrient intake and utilization.
These stores include (1):
Glycogen and fat (for energy)
Fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D and E, but not vitamin K)
Some minerals (iron in the liver and calcium in the bone)
Nutrients still need to be replenished through dietary intake. There are also some nutrients that cannot be stored:
Water-soluble vitamins (except B12)
Some minerals (including sodium, chlorine, and potassium)
A well-balanced diet must address these nutrient needs. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is necessary to achieve this goal.
There are several major food groups that are generally accepted as necessary for adequate nutrition. Grains and vegetables should be consumed in greatest abundance relative to the other groups. Please follow the diagram below to understand these groups and the foods that follow under these categories.
Figure 1. Major food groups, their descriptions, and dietary benefits (Adapted from 1,2)
Oils include essential fatty acids that must be consumed, but fats, oils and sweets should be eaten sparingly.
Part 2: Application to Greenhouses
Greenhouses provide access to vegetables and some fruits that may not otherwise be grown on a farm. There is increased viability of these plants year-round and, therefore, increased food security with this agricultural technology.
Part 3: Activity
Evaluate the nutritional value of the crops that you grow in your greenhouse. Do they fulfill the listed dietary guidelines for you related to fruits and vegetables? If not, do you believe that you can expand the vegetables that you grow to meet this need? Which of your crops are most nutrient-rich?