What Are Hydroponics Affects On Food?


Common hydroponically grown foods include tomatoes, berries, cucumbers, peppers and vegetables. Almost every manner of fruit and vegetable can be grown hydroponically, although availability varies on location. Other hydroponic vegetables include broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, mushrooms, and sprouts. A number of culinary herbs are also becoming available.


Consumers frequently spot vegetables at the supermarket labeled as hydroponically grown, but there’s still misconceptions about how these healthy looking vegetables stack up against conventionally grown produce. Understanding how hydroponics works and how it effects the nutritional value of the foods produced can help you decide whether to include these vegetables in your diet.


The nutritional value of hydroponically grown vegetables is the same as conventionally grown produce. The hydroponic farmer’s ability to precisely control the levels of minerals in the water means a consistent level of plant minerals, unlike farmers of soil-grown vegetables who may have to fertilize heavily to make up for poor soil quality. Another advantage is unlike conventional farming, hydroponic farms aren’t exposed to disease causing bacteria from livestock.


With hydroponics there's also little risk of exposure to run-off that can contaminate produce with bacteria and chemicals. Although hydroponically grown produce can't be called organic because it doesn't use animal fertilizers, the elimination of pesticides as it's grown indoors under a controlled setting advances its organic rating.


Since the quality of the hydroponic nutrient solution can be controlled, it's possible to grow a healthier produce. In one study, tomatoes and sweet peppers were tested for vitamin content. It was shown that the hydroponically grown veggies had higher vitamin levels. Theoretically, by growing hydroponics can produce nutritionally superior fruit by enhancing the nutritional value of the solution they're grown in.


Some experts believe that the growing method has little to do with a plant's nutritional value arguing that plants that don't come into contact with the soil are healthier and more disease free. However pathogens in the complex soil environment can make some plants produce higher amounts of beneficial compounds. Never the less, a 1994 industry-commissioned study found hydroponic peppers and tomatoes were more nutritious and flavorful - than the same varieties grown organically and grown by conventional methods.