What is Brix
Brix is a term is a term that refers to the refractive index of crop juices. A brix reading is made by analyzing plant sap in a refractometer. A refractometer measures the amount of bend or refraction in the rays of light as they pass through the plant sap. It is primarily a measure of the carbohydrate level in plant juices but is a measure of dissolved solids. A brix reading is made by squeezing out some sap from a plant, putting 2 drops of the juice on the prism, close the prism cover, point to a light source, focus the eye piece, and read the measurement. The brix reading is indicated where the light and dark fields intersect. This device is easily used by anyone.
The Brix reading is made on the part of the plant you eat if it is ripe. If the plant is not ripe you can take the most recent mature leaves that have had full sunlight for at least 2 hours. Ideally measurements should be taken at the same time of day as you compare throughout the growing season.
Click here to download the Brix Chart as a PDF.
What causes light to refract as it passes through plant sap?
High Brix foods have greater carbohydrate levels. Carbohydrates provide the fuel the body needs for basic metabolic function.
High Brix foods have greater mineral density. Calcium is one of the most important nutrients that increases Brix readings. Calcium deficiency is realated to many degenerative diseases. There are also higher levels of trace minerals such as iron, copper, and manganese. Trace mineral work with vitamins (co-enzymes) to activate enzyme reactions.
Minerals in foods are bound to amino acids (chelated). When bound to amino acid isomers with a right-hand spin (L-amino acids) they are biologically active. Natural foods have L-amino acids. Synthetic (man-made) amino acids have left hand spin (D-Amino acids) and is not biologically active. The dextro-rotatory (D-form) is rarely found naturally in nature. When people supplement their diets with chelated minerals, they need to check that the amino acid is in the L-form. With natural foods there is no reason to be concerned about biologically inactive nutrients.
High Brix foods taste better. The average consumer does not
remember how food used to taste when the nutrient levels were
higher. Even Organic certification does not guarantee a proper
balance of nutrients in the soil our crops are grown in.
If you ask any old-timer if they like the taste of fruits and
vegetables now compared to when they were young, they will most
likely tell you foods tasted better when they were young.
Taste is built upon the upon the carbohydrate and mineral levels in
the produce. When they decline so does the taste. What about aroma?
That seems lost as well. Today's average 2-3 brix hydroponic
greenhouse tomato looks like a tomato but it has virtually no aroma
and is nearly tasteless. It is a poor caricature of what a tomato
should be. As a culture Americans are so used to eating low quality
produce we don’t even know what really good produce tastes like.
High Brix plants have better insect and disease resistance. Plants in poor health emit an electo-magnetic frequency that insects tune in to. This in effect calls them in for a feast. Plants in good health emit a different frequency that insects do not tune in to. Nature has been designed to use insects to get rid of poor quality plants that are unfit for human consumption. In the same way a poorly balanced soil will produce plants susceptible to disease. Properly balanced soil will produce plants resistant to disease.
Animals instinctively prefer high Brix foods. Animals have a greater sense of survival instinct than does mankind. Wild animals instinctively prefer the healthier foods of highest mineral density. Industrialized production agriculture has found that it takes twice as many acres of genetically modified cornstalks to get the same amount of weight gain on cattle as compared to conventional non-GMO corn varieties. Wild deer will not graze on genetically modified corn stalks unless close to starving.
Try this easy experiment to prove this point. Buy whole field corn sold in the birdseed section of your local supermarket and some popcorn. Whole field corn will weigh somewhere around 55 lbs. per bushel while the popcorn will be around 66-68 lbs. per bushel. Offer both corn samples to some chickens that are not overly hungry and see which corn they eat first. You will see they first go after the popcorn with great enthusiasm and then the field corn with less enthusiasm. Why? Popcorn has greater mineral density as indicated by test weight. Cattle have the same instinct. They will always prefer the forage with the higher sugar content. This has been proven many times by seeing which hay cattle eat first when offered a choice.
Brix has become the gold standard to measure plant quality. Measuring the brix level on plants is quick, simple, and fairly inexpensive. Growers don't want to identify the Brix levels of their crops if they have low Brix readings. Agriculture uses chemical warfare in a desperate act to protect their unhealthy crops. Herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides disrupt the delicate microbial balance in the soil and contribute to the continued production of low-brix foods.
More people are demanding and finding higher-quality foods in high quality whole food markets. Many farmers are getting off the pesticide/GMO/low-brix merry-go-round and beginning to produce food that can have a tremendous impact on improving our health and wellness.