Crop nutrient levels drop

According to a recent report from The Organic Center; an organization that provides peer-reviewed scientific studies on the benefits of organic farming and organic foods, modern crops in the USA are falling in nutritional value.

Many farming practices have been focused on quanity and now quality is suffering to the point we need to eat more (or take supplements) to gain the same level of nutrients that our parents and grandparents gained from less. This also means we ingest more of what we don’t need.

Historical records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that many common fruits and vegetables often have lower levels of some vitamins and less iron, calcium, zinc, and other micronutrients than they did just half a century ago.

Other recent studies have also discovered that some modern crops provide 10 to 25 percent lower levels of iron, zinc, protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other essential nutrients per pound of produce or grain.

A very important crop, wheat, certainly seems to be suffering in nutritional value. In testing of 63 spring wheat varieties grown between 1842 and 2003, researchers at Washington State University discovered drops in all 8 minerals studied, including:

– 11 percent decline in iron
– 16 percent decline in copper
– 25 percent decline in zinc
– 50 percent decline in selenium.

Modern mainstream agricultural practices, such as excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides may produce fast-growing, high-yielding crops in terms of bulk, but the push for growth means that plants may not get the time to develop healthy root systems and therefore the uptake of some nutrients may be limited.

Read the full report; “Still No Free Lunch: Nutrient levels in U.S. food supply eroded by pursuit of high yields”

For some more eye-opening information on food security, also check out this post: The Future of Food