According to new research by Dr. Janet Braam, Professor of Cell Biology at Rice University, all plants have their own unique circadian rhythms.
These rhythms take care of boosting immune chemicals in the plant at times when it is most likely to be attacked by bad bugs. As it turns out, these chemicals are also potent anti-cancer agents, according to Dr Braam.
These circadian rhythms present as veggies increasing and decreasing in their content of certain phytochemicals based on the time of day. It seems the immune strength and nutrient blueprints of certain veggies are dependent on light and dark cycles – even after they have been picked.
Plants sitting in lighted grocery stores 24 hours a day may lose their circadian rhythms, thus losing much of their nutritional potency, as well as becoming more susceptible to harmful bacteria and fungi that a plant exposed to natural light and dark cycles might naturally ward off.
The circadian rhythms of plants seem to also be connected to seasonal changes.
So it might not be a bad idea to know when your veggies and the immune chemicals active within them are packing the biggest punch.
While this research was only done on a variety of cabbage family veggies – and much more needs to be done to know for sure – the most potent time for the immune chemicals was found to be the middle of the day. After midday, the chemicals would begin to wane and reach their lowest potency at night.
The Ayurvedic Link
According to Ayurveda, eating the biggest meal of the day at noon provides many benefits. This budding research on veggies suggests that the reason may also be connected to when the foods are delivering their greatest nutritional punch – the midday.
When I read this research, I think of how Ayurveda has always placed great importance on the time of day that each herb was harvested and eaten. Certain plants were considered best harvested during the full moon or a new moon, at sunrise or sunset. Today, biodynamic farming echoes many of these same principles.
Was this information just superstition, or was it a sign that they were way ahead of their time?!