Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.Hippocrates
There have been many studies which have found that there has been a considerable drop in the mineral content of fruits and vegetables over the last 50 years almost certainly driven by changes in farming practices post WW2. Tractors replaced horses and less farm hands were needed. Farmers grubbed out hedgerows and raised single crops (monoculture) across ever larger fields to supply the new demand from supermarkets.
One of the first studies was published by Mayer in 1997. She compared the results of analyses for 8 mineral nutrients and reported finding statistically significant reductions in the levels of calcium (–19%), magnesium (–35%), copper (–81%), and sodium (–43%) in vegetables and magnesium (–11%), iron (–32%), copper (–36%) and potassium (–20%) in fruits.
Such findings are obviously subjective. As you might expect, you will find plenty of scientists out there sponsored by corporates who will deny the results and argue the case for further corporate exploitation of our natural resources. That’s how corporates work – its called marketing.
However, common sense tells you that different plants draw up different nutrients from different levels of the soil. In the organic method, these plants are composted and those micronutrients are returned to the top layer of the soil. In modern monoculture systems, you can expect the nutrients those crops fail to take up to be leached away. The nutrients the following crop needs to grow are provided by chemical fertilisers which also leach away easily polluting nearby watercourses. The inevitable pest bloom you would expect to suffer by growing a large quantity of a single crop has to be tackled by pesticides. The ten million dollar question is what effect does all of this have on human health and is there a correlation between the rise of modern chronic diseases and the way we mass produce our food?