Nutrient and Mineral Deficient Food: Part 3

As promised, today I am going to share with you some interesting research that backs up the insights and ah-has I shared with you in Parts 1 and 2. Mainly, how agronomists have tracked the decline in mineral and nutrient levels in food grown in the US since 1914.

Below is a chart detailing the 80 year decline in one medium apple, raw, with skin.

Mineral         1914             1963          1992           %Change (1914-1992)
Calcium        13.5mg         7.0mg        7.0mg         -48.15
Phosphorus   45.2mg         10.0mg      7.0mg         -84.51
Iron               4.6mg           0.3mg        0.18mg       - 96.09
Potassium     117.0mg       110.0mg    115.0mg      -1.71
Magnesium   28.9mg         8.0mg        5.0mg         -82.70

*Chart taken from Nutrition Security Institute PDF "Food Nutrition Decline". Their source: Lindlaar, 1914; USDA, 1963 and 1997.

Are you seeing what I am seeing? Between 1914 and 1992, calcium has decreased by 48%. Magnesium has decreased by almost 83%. Referring back to what I quoted from the Discover Magazine article Vitamin Cure in Part 2 last week: "Other research has shown correlations between low levels of various nutrients—zinc, calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins—and depression."

Actually, I was surprised to see that Phosphorus was down in 1992 from 1914 by almost 85% since phosphorus IS one of the minerals included in chemical fertilizers. I guess it just goes to show that even if the chemical fertilizer is put in the ground, it doesn't mean that the apple tree is going to utilize the phosphorus found in chemical fertilizer. 

On page 5 of the "Food Nutrition Decline" pdf file, it shows in graph form the decrease in the sum of averages of calcium, magnesium and iron in cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes and spinach from 1914 to 1997. In 1914, the sum of averages for these three minerals was at 400 milligrams. By 1997, it was down to about 75 milligrams. 

The decline is broken up into two segments: from 1914 through the end of World War II (my baby boomer parents were two years old in 1948) it took a drastic dive; from 1948- 1963 it was more of a gradual decline. From 1963-1997 the lack of minerals remained constant.

No doubt the scarcity of resources during the Great Depression and the Second World Ward resulted in not as much attention being put into the US food supply. But the fact that it gradually declined again from 1948 through 1963, when the economy was improving, you would assume that resources would be put back into revitalizing the agriculture industry to raise the mineral levels back up to what they were in 1914. Perhaps the economy was improving because farmers were learning how to increase their crop at the cost of quality of crops. The fact that from 1963 for the next 34 years the minerals in our food supply stayed the same indicates what we all know, conventional farmers maintained their cheaper methods to grow a lot of food.

This whole scenario brings to mind a teaching from my LDS (Mormon) faith, the Word of Wisdom. This revelation was given to Joseph Smith Jr. on 27 February 1833. It is found in the Doctrine & Covenants 89 and verse 4 is the particular verse I am thinking of: "Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—"

I used to always assume growing up that this scripture referred to the conspiring companies that sold addictive substances, like alcohol and nictotine products. Now that I am more learned in the food we have been sold and that we eat, I am seeing the "conspiring men" in the conventional produce and meat products we buy from our regular grocery stores every day.  

While the food we buy is approved by the USDA, it does not mean that it is necessarily the healthiest food for you. We all understand that canned vegetables are not as healthy for you as fresh vegetables - but what do we think now that we know that fresh vegetables we have been eating have also been cheating us out of our health? Do I dare blame the conventional farmers who sacrifice quality for getting the most out of their crop? I grew up in South Eastern Idaho where a few of my friends' fathers were spud (potato) farmers. They struggled. Farming is not an easy vocation by any means. And yet when I remember that there ARE farmers who don't sacrifice the quality of their produce in order to produce more and thereby sell more (Solomon and Coleman that I mentioned in Part 2), it does make me wonder if I should group the conventional farmers (especially corporation farmers) in with the "conspiring men" that the Lord warned us about in the Word of Wisdom.

My mom has often advocated for the advances made in food production that has "kept people alive" and while, yes, it has done that I wonder at what cost? We have more diabetes, cancer, heart disease and mental illnesses today than we did 80 years ago. I refuse to believe it is because our medical professionals are better at diagnosing it when I see this evidence of the lack of minerals in our food supply. 

I am so grateful that God has inspired some of his children to teach us how to improve our health rather than being at the mercy of others. 

Look for Part 4 this next week to learn how you can guarantee that the food you grow in your garden this year is not lacking in these essential minerals and nutrients!

Read Part 1 here
Read Part 2 here



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