The Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture for Human Health
Regenerative agriculture is a practice that aims to rebuild and restore the health of the soil, while also promoting biodiversity, animal welfare, and sustainable farming practices. The benefits of regenerative agriculture on the environment have been widely documented, but what about its impact on human health?
Benefits of regenerative agriculture for human health
1. Nutrient-Dense Food
Regenerative agriculture focuses on improving soil health, which leads to healthier plants. When plants are grown in healthy soil, they are more nutrient-dense, meaning that they contain a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are then passed on to the animals that eat the plants, and ultimately to the people who consume the animal products. Studies have shown that regenerative agriculture can increase the nutrient content of food, including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which are essential for good health.
Michal Slota, Doctor of Medical Science, recently shared about nutrient-density of food on his LinkedIn page. He shared that cabbage grown on a regenerative California farm was characterized by significant more dense cabbage than from a regularly tilled organic field. His statement is based on the data presented by Montgomery et al. 2022):
The regenerative field a significant higher share of healthy vitamins and nutrients than cabbage from the regularly tilled organic field:
- 46% more vitamin K, - 31% more vitamin E, - 33% more vitamin B1, - 60% more vitamin B3, - 23% more vitamin B5 - 41% more calcium, - 22% more potassium, - less than a third of the sodium, - 35% more carotenoids, - 74% more phytosterols.’’
2. Reduced Exposure to Toxins
Many conventional farming practices involve the use of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers, which can leave harmful residues on crops and in the soil. These chemicals can end up in the food we eat and have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer, neurological disorders, and reproductive issues. Regenerative agriculture avoids the use of these chemicals, instead relying on natural methods like crop rotation, cover cropping, and composting to control pests and maintain soil health. This reduces the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals and helps promote a healthier food system.
3. Reduced Risk of Disease
The nutrient-dense food produced by regenerative agriculture can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Studies, including Montgomory et al, 2022) have shown that diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help prevent these diseases, and regenerative agriculture produces food that is higher in these essential nutrients. Additionally, the reduced exposure to toxins can also help reduce the risk of disease.
4. Mental Health Benefits
Spending time in nature has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits, including reduced stress, improved mood, and increased feelings of well-being. Regenerative agriculture promotes a connection to the natural world, as it involves working with the land and the cycles of nature. This can lead to improved mental health and overall quality of life.
In conclusion, regenerative agriculture has many benefits for human health. By producing nutrient-dense food, reducing exposure to toxins,, reducing the risk of disease, and supporting mental health, regenerative agriculture can help create a healthier and more sustainable food system.
How can you support regenerative agriculture?
What can you do as consumer?
As consumers, we can support regenerative agriculture by choosing to buy food from small-scale, locally-owned farms and advocating for policies that promote sustainable farming practices.
What can you do as grower?
Start with regenerative agricultural practices and not only contribute to a better environment, but also to better human health!
Transition to regenerative agriculture challenging
However, transitioning to regenerative agriculture isn’t always easy, as you might see it as a financial burden, you lack to data-driven approach needed to know what works best on your land and you lack support. Read more about the transition and profitability of regenerative agriculture here.
SoilBeat - for an easier transition to regenerative agriculture
At SoilBeat, we would love to help you excel in the transition and tackle the challenges, so you can contribute to the environment and human health, while prospering yourself as well!
Use SoilBeat to easily monitor the impact of your interventions and learn what works best on your field - while having smooth communication with your consultant for the best recommendations.
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Do you want to read more about regenerative agriculture and human health? Continue reading here:
Liz Kimbrough in Mongabay Series: Agroecology. Study: Rgenerative farming boosts soil health, yielding more nutritious crops.
David R. Montgomery & Anne Biklé: What Your Food Ate (book)