"Horticultural, pastoral, and hunter-gatherer societies did better as far as nutrition, at least as far as I can tell."
I totally agree Gilbert! How do we mimic it in our own diets? I think a good start is:
-I think an important component is to get as much as you can from varied, non traditional staples foods--both and foraged. Components I've been think of (many echoing what others have said) are:
-"Weeds" and foraged greens! Those weedy greens in everyone's garden and in abandoned placeslike chickweed, nettle, purslane, lambs quarters, etc are SO much higher in nutrition than lettuce greens from a traditional garden row. I've had a small space to grow my food for a number of years and I still can't keep up with the chickweed, and a couple local hikes get me nettle soup, a years supply of nettle tea, chickweed and miners lettuce salads, and more. Add that to plenty of Kale, arugula, spinach, etc and eating it all often. Huge boost to nutrition.
-Fruit, nuts, and berries from both forest garden and foraged in neighborhoods and forests
-mushrooms, knowledgeably and responsibly foraged when possible, otherwise cultivated onsite
-perennial vegetables are also a way to mix it up and add nutritional diversity. Toenmeyer's book (probably botched that spelling) is great on Perennial vegetables.
-sprouting seeds/micro-greens, fermenting sauerkraut, combucha, nut milk yogurt
-hunting/fishing if feasible.
-prioritizing raw, fresh, in season. Drying and root cellaring when possible as preferred methods when storing stuff for winter
-grown and foraged herbs. For example, I found out I was likely deficient in Calcium so now I forage and make tea with horsetail, nettle, and oat straw. A quart mason jar of tea a day is easy to drink. Not sure how much of the daily value it gives me, but symptoms are way better. I need to research more specifics though.
I do admit, being a small female makes it easier to get more of my caloric intake from lots of kale and mushrooms and stuff. My husband is harder to fill up without the usual staples like potatoes and rice unless we've got a lot of meat for dinner, but he can still get a lot of calories from the types of food listed above. If nothing else, it's a good start.