Results of a new study suggest that shoppers may want to consider where a vegetable is located in the food store before making a purchase. According to the research, the fluorescent lighting commonly found in supermarkets can enhance the nutritional value of leafy vegetables, especially spinach.
Lead authors Gene Lester, Donald Makus and Mark Hodges tested this theory by exposing fresh spinach leaves to continuous fluorescent lighting for varying periods of time.
After three days, spinach that was stored in clear plastic containers close to retail-style lighting contained significantly higher levels of vitamins C, K, E and folate, compared to "control" vegetables that were not situated directly under artificial lighting.
When kept under continuous light exposure for nine days, the levels of folate and vitamin K in the spinach increased by as much as 100 percent. In contrast, the nutrient levels of vegetables that were not stored under fluorescent lighting fixtures either diminished or remained unchanged.
The authors of the study believe the findings may open doors to improving the way that vegetables are stored.