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The Research: Fruits & Vegetables Losing Nutritional Value

The Decline of Nutrients

Did you know that the nutritional value of your fruits, vegetables, and grains is declining each year?

Recent studies doen in the US and UK show that vegetables and fruits most likely contain 5% to 40% fewer minerals than those a few decades ago. Studies also showed grains had lower mineral and protein levels. These changes in nutrition levels included increased sugar levels in some fruits and in potatoes.

Reasons for the Decline

 The Environmental Factors

The rise in CO2 levels and soil nutrient depletion are key factors in the decreasing essential nutrients, proteins, and minerals in crops. The use of pesticides & fertilizers combined with global warming’s extreme weather patterns kills off microorganisms that provide the essential nutrients that are transferred from the soil into the plants.

Nutrients are Essential

Effects on the Body:

  • Fatigue and Low Energy:
    • Iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D
  • Weakened Immune System:
    • Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Iron
  • Poor Bone Health:
    • Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K
  • Digestive Problems:
    • Fiber, B Vitamins

Effects on the Mind:

  • Cognitive Impairment:
    • B Vitamins (especially B12), Vitamin D, Iron
  • Mood Disorders:
    • Depression: Folate, Vitamin D
    • Anxiety: Magnesium, 
    • Increased Stress and Anxiety: Vitamin B Complex, Magnesium
  • Sleep Issues:
    • Magnesium, Vitamin D, Iron

 

Recommendations:

We strongly recommend working with your doctor to have blood work done that will determine which specific nutrients are either too high or too low. If that is not possible, a multivitamin is an excellent choice.

The National Institute of Health recommends a multivitamin for individuals that:

  • consume low-calorie diets,  
  • avoid certain foods (such as strict vegetarians and vegans).
  • could become pregnant
  • are Pregnant 
  • are infants or children
  • adults ages 50 years +

See Your Nutritional Requirements

The table below provides the daily intakes of vitamins and minerals  for adults, and life stage based on the latest Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) and Adequate Intakes (AIs), as well as Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) developed by Food and Drug Administration.

Nutrient Unit of measure Adults & Children ≥ 4 years Pregnant Women
Vitamin A Micrograms RAE2 (mcg) 900 1,300
Vitamin C Milligrams (mg) 90 120
Calcium Milligrams (mg) 1,300 260
Iron Milligrams (mg) 18 27
Vitamin D Micrograms (mcg) 20 15
Vitamin E Milligrams (mg) 15 19
Vitamin K Micrograms (mcg) 120 90
Thiamin Milligrams (mg) 1.2 1.4
Riboflavin Milligrams (mg) 1.3 1.6
Niacin Milligrams NE5 (mg) 16 18
Vitamin B6 Milligrams (mg) 1.7 2
Folate 6 Micrograms DFE7 (mcg) 400 600
Vitamin B12 Milligrams (mg) 2.4 2.8
Biotin Milligrams (mg) 30 35
Pantothenic Acid Milligrams (mg) 5 7
Phosphorus Milligrams (mg) 1,250 1,250
Iodine Milligrams (mg) 150 290
Magnesium Milligrams (mg) 420 400
Zinc Milligrams (mg) 11 13
Selenium Milligrams (mg) 55 70
Copper Milligrams (mg) 0.9 1.3
Manganese Milligrams (mg) 2.3 2.6
Chromium Milligrams (mg) 35 45
Molybdenum Milligrams (mg) 45 50
Chloride Milligrams (mg) 2,300 2,300
Potassium Milligrams (mg) 4,700 5,100
Choline Milligrams (mg) 550 550

Scientific Research — 1

Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence?

Source

Davis, D. R. (2009). Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence?. HortScience horts, 44(1), 15-19.

Abstract

Three kinds of evidence point toward declines of some nutrients in fruits and vegetables available in the United States and the United Kingdom: 1) early studies of fertilization found inverse relationships between crop yield and mineral concentrations—the widely cited “dilution effect”; 2) three recent studies of historical food composition data found apparent median declines of 5% to 40% or more in some minerals in groups of vegetables and perhaps fruits; one study also evaluated vitamins and protein with similar results; and 3) recent side-by-side plantings of low- and high-yield cultivars of broccoli and grains found consistently negative correlations between yield and concentrations of minerals and protein, a newly recognized genetic dilution effect. Studies of historical food composition data are inherently limited, but the other methods can focus on single crops of any kind, can include any nutrient of interest, and can be carefully controlled. They can also test proposed methods to minimize or overcome the diluting effects of yield whether by environmental means or by plant breeding.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Scientific Research — 2

Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition.

Source

Nature [Nature] 2014 Jun 05; Vol. 510 (7503), pp. 139-42. Date of Electronic Publication: 2014 May 07.

Abstract

Dietary deficiencies of zinc and iron are a substantial global public health problem. An estimated two billion people suffer these deficiencies, causing a loss of 63 million life-years annually. Most of these people depend on C3 grains and legumes as their primary dietary source of zinc and iron. Here we report that C3 grains and legumes have lower concentrations of zinc and iron when grown under field conditions at the elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration predicted for the middle of this century. C3 crops other than legumes also have lower concentrations of protein, whereas C4 crops seem to be less affected. Differences between cultivars of a single crop suggest that breeding for decreased sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 concentration could partly address these new challenges to global health.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Scientific Research — 3

Soil factors associated with zinc deficiency in crops and humans.

Source

Davis, D. R. (2009). Declining Environmental geochemistry and health [Environ Geochem Health] 2009 Oct; Vol. 31 (5), pp. 537-48.

Abstract

Zinc deficiency is the most ubiquitous micronutrient deficiency problem in world crops. Zinc is essential for both plants and animals because it is a structural constituent and regulatory co-factor in enzymes and proteins involved in many biochemical pathways. Millions of hectares of cropland are affected by Zn deficiency and approximately one-third of the human population suffers from an inadequate intake of Zn. The main soil factors affecting the availability of Zn to plants are low total Zn contents, high pH, high calcite and organic matter contents and high concentrations of Na, Ca, Mg, bicarbonate and phosphate in the soil solution or in labile forms. Maize is the most susceptible cereal crop, but wheat grown on calcareous soils and lowland rice on flooded soils are also highly prone to Zn deficiency. Zinc fertilizers are used in the prevention of Zn deficiency and in the biofortification of cereal grains.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Scientific Research — 4

Potential Roles of Soil Microorganisms in Regulating the Effect of Soil Nutrient Heterogeneity on Plant Performance

Source

Adomako MO, Roiloa S, Yu FH. Potential Roles of Soil Microorganisms in Regulating the Effect of Soil Nutrient Heterogeneity on Plant Performance. Microorganisms. 2022 Dec 3;10(12):2399.

Abstract

The spatially heterogeneous distribution of soil nutrients is ubiquitous in terrestrial ecosystems and has been shown to promote the performance of plant communities, influence species coexistence, and alter ecosystem nutrient dynamics. Plants interact with diverse soil microbial communities that lead to an interdependent relationship (e.g., symbioses), driving plant community productivity, belowground biodiversity, and soil functioning. However, the potential role of the soil microbial communities in regulating the effect of soil nutrient heterogeneity on plant growth has been little studied. Here, we highlight the ecological importance of soil nutrient heterogeneity and microorganisms and discuss plant nutrient acquisition mechanisms in heterogeneous soil. We also examine the evolutionary advantages of nutrient acquisition via the soil microorganisms in a heterogeneous environment. Lastly, we highlight a three-way interaction among the plants, soil nutrient heterogeneity, and soil microorganisms and propose areas for future research priorities. By clarifying the role of soil microorganisms in shaping the effect of soil nutrient heterogeneity on plant performance, the present study enhances the current understanding of ecosystem nutrient dynamics in the context of patchily distributed soil nutrients.

INTRODUCTION

The soil microbial communities constitute a diverse group of microorganisms whose activities can positively or negatively impact the growth and productivity of plants. In effect, soil microorganisms directly influence plant growth by forming a mutual (symbiotic) or pathogenic relationship with the roots and, through the free-living microorganisms (non-symbiotic) that are indirectly capable of switching the rate of nutrient supply to plants….

Conclusion

We, therefore, conclude that soil microorganisms can potentially influence the spatial heterogeneity of soil nutrients on plant performance via the exploitation of patchy nutrients, organic matter mineralization, and the homogenization of patchy nutrients. By clarifying the role of soil microorganisms on the effect of soil nutrient heterogeneity on plant performance, the present review enhances the current understanding of ecosystem nutrient dynamics in the context of patchily distributed soil nutrients.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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