Modern Food Malnourishment
It is a popular notion that if we eat nutritious food that we will be healthy and will not need to take any supplements. The Greek physician Hippocrates has been quoted many times "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" This may have been true 2500 years ago but in our modern world of mass mono agriculture, GMO food, use of chemicals, hybridised varieties of fruit and vegetables bred for for looks and transportation rather than nutrients I am very sure that this is no longer the complete solution to our health .
As health/horticulture experts I think we need to examine the evidence and agree that most of us need to take the right type of organic plant based supplements (real, 100% whole food ones) to bridge the gaps that are in our diets.
I know that Australia has very ancient soil so it is already poor in vital nutrients, so when you compound the problem with modern farming methods, hybridised varieties of vegetables and fruit and the length of time from picking to plate the deficiency problem is compounded. Even today the nutrients in our food is not measured and is completely ignored to our detriment. There is total focus from our scientists on disease resistance in plants rather than nutrition. Studies published in HortScience show up to a 40% decline in nutrients of fruits and vegetables due to a"dilution effect" in the US and UK.
The WA Department of Primary Industries has this to say about soil in Western Australia:
"Western Australian soils are inherently infertile so many farmers have built up soil nutrition levels and have now adopted a replacement approach to fertiliser management. This approach needs to be carefully managed and the department recommends that growers undertake regular monitoring of soil and plant nutrient levels."
The worlds Topsoil Is Like The skin Of An Apple And Is Severely Depleted
Australian soil lacks humus and is declining in fertility, there is excessive use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers and more marginal land is now farmed for food production. These types of fertilisers can actually inhibit the uptake of minerals.
Without the right amount of humus, worms and bacteria in the soil and the correct PH, the plants will not be able to uptake the minerals that are vital to our health. Trace elements are very rarely added to the soil in modern farming and we are particularly magnesium deficient. Even organic farming food production we still do not know whether the soil has a complete set of nutrients that are in balance with the correct soil PH so the plants can take up the minerals. There is a lack of vital nutrients across the board with all modern fruits and vegetables.
Healthy soil is more than just the right minerals, you also need the right soil microbes and humus for healthy roots. Farmers today heavily utilise herbicides, pesticides, fungicides to maximise yields in part due to poor soil health. Residues of these chemicals are on and in our food and they also contribute to blocking nutrients from getting absorbed into our body.
Scientific American article: "The Organic Consumers Association cites several other studies with similar findings: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent. 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 percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent. 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."
Hybrid Varieties Have Less Nutrients
Wild varieties of plants have more phytonutrients, and less sugar than hybridised varieties. According to an article published in the New York Times
"Wild dandelions, once a springtime treat for Native Americans, have seven times more phytonutrients than spinach, which we consider a “superfood.” A purple potato native to Peru has 28 times more cancer-fighting anthocyanins than common russet potatoes. One species of apple has a staggering 100 times more phytonutrients than the Golden Delicious displayed in our supermarkets." We only have access to a few varieties of plants, this limitation is also detrimental to our health. Did you know that there are over 400 varieties of potatoes for example?