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The Declining Nutrient Value of Fruits and Vegetables

Sunday, November 19th 2023 10:00am 5 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

A significant study that highlighted the diminishing nutritional value of fruits and vegetables was published in 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. This study analyzed data from 1950 to 1999 and revealed declines in six essential nutrients among 43 evaluated foods. These nutrients encompass protein, riboflavin, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and phosphorus.

The researchers also scrutinized data on seven other nutrients, observing no statistically significant alterations. Their conclusion pointed towards these declines being attributed to shifts in cultivated varieties, possibly resulting from a compromise between cultivation methods that enhance yield and the subsequent impact on nutrient content.

Vital nutrients are essential for your body’s growth, development, and overall health maintenance. Deficiencies in these nutrients can significantly influence various aspects like immunity, bone health, wound healing, and more. Proteins are essential for muscle building, hormone synthesis, and antibody formation. Vitamin C is crucial for immune system functioning, while riboflavin aids in converting food into energy.

Shortages in any of these nutrients profoundly affect overall well-being. Foods rich in nutrients provide your body with the necessary elements to support good health. Nutrient density takes into account both macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbs) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) vital for normal physiological processes.

Diminished nutritional value is not confined to produce alone, but also affects meat. Recent research has indicated a drop in nutrient levels, including iron content in vegetables grown in Australia. This study examined iron levels in vegetables and legumes, discovering reductions ranging from 30% to 50% in sweet corn, redskin potatoes, cauliflower, and green beans, with even more pronounced decreases in legumes. As plant-based diets gain popularity, close monitoring of nutrient content is strongly advised.

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