To counter the nutritional deficiencies of conventional foods, choose organic produce
Study after study is concluding that much of the agricultural soil in our world is deficient in the essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary to maintain basic level of human health.
Evidence suggests that the nutritional composition of fruits, vegetables and grains has seriously declined over the last 50 years. Comparison of nutrient values released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) between 2001 and 1963 showed a 50% declined in vitamin C in cauliflower and pro-vitamin A in broccoli and collard greens. The vitamin C content of peppers has also plummeted from 128 to 89 mg.
Nutritional deficiencies in our vegetables
According to Dr Erwin Gemmer’s “Who Stole America’s Health” report, wheat has lost 90% of its protein content since 1900, and spinach has lost 99% of its iron content from 1948.
What causes these great nutritional deficiencies?
How did the rich farmlands in the world become the depleted wasteland of poor nutrition that it is today? Here are the main culprits:
1) Over Farming: Farmers, discarding traditional farming methods which involved crop rotation and letting the land lie fallow, often farmed the land continually without putting anything back. After that, they simply moved to another location and start all over again.
2) Chemical Fertilizers: Scientists created chemical fertilizers, which comprise mainly of nitrates (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). However, N, P and K are just 3 of the 50 plus minerals that people and animals need. Because the application of these artificial and incomplete nutrients on the depleted soil resulted in abundant crops leading to the economic boom in agriculture, the long term repercussion of this practice was completely ignored. The truth is that while NKP fertilizers results in healthy looking crops, but are actually nutritionally deficient.
3) Acidic soil destroys helpful microorganisms: NKP fertilizers are highly acidic. The microorganisms that change minerals into a form that plants can use cannot survive in acidic environment and without these microbes, minerals are unavailable to plants. Some farmers add calcium and magnesium to the soil to neutralize it, but that result in the deficiency of manganese and other trace minerals.
4) Excessive Nitrates can lead to cancers: NKP fertilizers present large doses of nitrogen which affect the protein quality of the plants. Additionally, when nitrogen level exceeds what the plant need for photosynthesis, the excess gets stored away as nitrates in plant tissues. When eaten, these nitrates can be converted to cancer causing substances similar to that found in cured meat and cigarette smoke. (National Research Council, ‘The Health Effects of Nitrates, nitrite and N-nitroso compounds’ National Academy Press, 1981)
5) Prolonged storage: Most of today’s fruits, vegetables and grains are stored for long periods of time before being sold, and may be stored for an even longer time after purchase before being eaten. Many vitamins breakdown significantly over time resulting in nutritionally deficient foods.
6) Pesticides and other chemicals: Application of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides during growth alters plant metabolism that adversely affects the nutrient content and antioxidant properties of the plants. And again, the result is nutritionally deficient foods.
In view of the nutritional deficiencies of our foods today, it is imperative that we choose nutritious organic produce, that are grown using traditional methods, on soils enriched with natural compost, prepared in ways that retain all the natural nutrients to nourish and heal our bodies.