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Is poor soil quality affecting our health?

Unfortunately, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation, things are not in good shape. They claim that if the current rate of global soil degradation continues, the world will run out of topsoil in about 60 years! Industrial farming methods are the culprit to blame for the quickly declining soil quality.

Many people may not realise just how important earth soil quality is for human health. Soil fertility is directly correlated to the nutrient content of the food crops. Healthy soil is rich with vital minerals and microbes. Even when you consume meat, if the soil quality is poor, the grain the animal consumes is lacking in nutrients, and therefore the meat we are consuming is lacking in nutrients. 95% of our diet is affected by soil quality. In short, if our soil is healthy, our food is healthy and so are we.

It has been confirmed that there has been a significant drop in the amount of protein, calcium, iron and vitamin C in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables over the past 50 years. Not only are our soils lacking the nutrients we need, but they might be causing us to consume toxins we really don't need. Contaminants in our soils from fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides can accumulate in the plant tissue and be passed onto the animals and humans that eat them.

So what can we do about all of this? There are farming practices that help restore soil health and subsequently hopefully our health too! Buying local organic vegetables and meat is the best way to access nutrient dense food and support the farmers using better practices. There are organic fruit and veg box companies such as Riverford, and even local milkmen companies like milkandmore are now providing these too. You can also buy organic from most supermarkets. A great resource to check out is the clean 15 and dirty 12. The clean 15 is a list of ‘clean’ fruits and vegetables that are less likely to absorb toxic nasties from the soil, therefore it’s not essential to buy these organic. And the ‘dirty’ 12 contains a list that are likely to contain the toxins in their tissue, so these would be the best fruits and vegetables to buy organically.

Unfortunately, in the modern world, many foods are contaminated in some way. It doesn't always follow that they are then completely bad for you. Vegetables and fruits contain the antioxidants and compounds that will support your body and liver to combat any toxins. I also think, if anything, this information about soil quality is an incentive to eat more fruit and vegetables. If a small amount of your diet is made up of plant foods and the vegetables are low in nutrients, then it's likely that you may have insufficient nutrient intakes. However, if you eat a wide variety of colourful fruit and vegetables daily, you are more likely to be reaching good nutrient intake levels.


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