Are Veggies getting Less Nutritious?
‘Eat your veggies!’ We hear it all the time. But what if each generation of vegetable is becoming less nutritious? Soil depletion, the lessening of nutrients in soil which ultimately leads to less nutritious produce, is a growing problem in modern agriculture. Although vegetation absorbs all manner of minerals from the soil as it grows, contemporary chemical fertilizers only replace the three main minerals needed to successfully grow a crop; nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This leaves, on average, a general decline in other trace minerals that are important, and in some cases essential, for general health and for preventing degenerative disease.
According to Scientific American, “…analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average Calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27%; Iron levels 37%; Vitamin A levels 21%, and Vitamin C levels 30%. A similar study of British nutrient data from 1930 to 1980, published in the British Food Journal, found that in 20 vegetables the average Calcium content had declined 19%; Iron 22%; and Potassium 14%. Yet another study concluded that one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one.”
Of course we still need to eat our fruits and vegetables. Canada’s Food Guide recommends 5 servings per day of vegetables and fruit for children aged 4 to 8 years and 7 to 10 servings/day for adults. So Yes! Eat your veggies! But this does makes a strong case for growing your own food (if possible) and supplementing with a quality multivitamin/mineral.