When we realise how bad the food we’ve been eating all our lives is and start to make healthier choices, the next question we should be asking (but never do) is – what food is the food we’re eating eating?
Industrial grown produce grown in soil with artificial synthetic fertilizers only contain the “Big 3” particular minerals: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
These 3 are considered the ‘essentials’ – they help plants form their protein, resist disease, increase crop yields, carry out photosynthesis and to grow and develop normally. They help plants grow bigger and faster.
But plants require about 52 different chemicals for good health and strong growth. A plants health is much more complex than just 3 minerals.
This artificially fertilised soil brings nutritional deficiency to the plants growing in it, and therefore also brings deficiency to the people eating these foods, because people too need these 52 minerals to be present in the food.
It looks like food, it tastes like food, but it’s nutritionally empty. Just because the plant grows, doesn’t mean it’s actually healthy.
“Our big human brains have long, and erroneously, conflated plant growth with plant health.” – biologist Anne Biklé and David R. Montgomery, Dean’s professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. (1)
Theres a symbiotic relationship between plants, the root microbiome and the soil
“The recipe for plant health is complex. It goes considerably beyond the simple mix of N, P, and K that plants need to grow.” – Biklé & Montgomery
The rhizosphere is the plants root-to-soil connection, and the area immediately around the plant’s root. The microorganisms in the rhizosphere thrive on chemicals, known as exudates, released from the plant’s roots. In exchange, the root microbiome supplies the plant with important metabolites that helps plants produce phytochemicals, and supply them with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
When plants are fed synthetic NPK, it stops this symbiotic relationship because the plants won’t expend all that energy for ‘nutrients’ they can get for free, so they slow down exudate production, and the plant gets fewer beneficial metabolites and minerals from the root micro biome.
More nutrition from the same amount of food
“High-yielding crops raised on a steady diet of fertilizers appear to have lower levels of certain minerals and nutrients. The diet our crops eat influences what gets into our food, and what we get — or don’t get — out of these foods when we eat them.” – Biklé & Montgomery
Veggies today are larger than they used to be, but they actually have less nutrients, and very little phytonutrients.
Despite all these ‘agricultural advances’, mineral content is actually declining over time. Crops these days are usually selectively bred for high yields, to the decline of minerals and amino acids, and when plants grow explosively as they do with synthetic fertilisers and in industrial agriculture, they cut back on making phytochemicals.
“We end up with big fat high-yielding crops that look good on the outside but are poor in minerals and phytochemicals on the inside.” – Biklé & Montgomery
A 2009 study of nutrient levels in US crops concluded that there was a 5 to 40 percent declines in the mineral content of fruits and vegetables over the past 50 – 70 years. (2)
A study in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that organic tomatoes are twice as high in flavanoids as conventional tomatoes when compared over a ten year period. Flavanoids protect against heart disease and other chronic ailments. (3)
Another study in HortScience showed that “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”. (4)
Wild plants have been shown to have many times the phytonutrients of conventional produce. Generally, the closer a crop type is to its wild ancestor, the higher its phytochemical levels are. (1)
In testimony before the U.S. Senate on July 3 1946, Dr. Max Gerson said:
“The fundamental damage [to the human body] starts with the use of artificial fertiliser for vegetables and fruits as well as for fodder. Thus, the chemically transformed vegetarian and meat nourishment, increasing through generations, transforms the organs and functions of the human body in the wrong direction.”
Just like people lose their natural defences when they have deficiencies, so too do plants. Fungal and viral diseases and insects can then destroy these weak and deficient plants, and farmers then have to spray them with fungicides, herbicides, pesticides to avoid losing their crops.
Synthetic fertilisers contaminate the environment
Synthetic fertilisers run off the farms and into the water supply and create a buildup of nitrogen and phosphorus at dangerous levels. This leads to algal blooms that alter the food chain and an insufficient supply of oxygen to sustain life, creating dead zones which destroy fisheries. (5)
What can you do?
It’s a vicious cycle that leaves us, the consumers of this produce, deficient, weakened, toxic and eventually diseased.
This is just yet another reason to buy organic food – before we even get to the issue of pesticides and toxic chemicals on conventional produce, we simply can’t eat enough to get all the phytonutrients and minerals that we need to stay healthy.
Buy organic and biodynamic produce and from local farmers using sustainable farming practices like composting.
Buying as much of your food from local farmers markets is the best way to get produce that is organic, spray free, low-yield, seasonal, local and with farming methods that support the environment!
(1) “Junk Food is Bad For Plants, Too,” Nautilus, BY ANNE BIKLÉ & DAVID R. MONTGOMERY, MARCH 31, 2016
(2) Davis, D.R. Declining fruit and vegetable nutrient composition: What is the evidence? Horticultural Science 44, 15-19 (2009)
(4) “Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence?,” HortScience February 2009 vol. 44 no. 1 15-19
The Gerson Therapy – Charlotte Gerson