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One of the reasons that cancer, heart disease and other diseases are afflicting more of us is the quality of our food.

In the last 50 years the potatoe has lost 100% of its vitamin A, 57% of its vitamin C, 57% of its iron and 28 per cent of its calcium, 50 per cent of its riboflavin and 18 per cent of its thiamine. The story is similar for 25 fruits and vegetables that were analyzed. This is because the soils have been depleted due to
1) a lack of crop rotation and fallow and
2) Use of N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) fertilizers rather than manure.
A study by A. B. Mayer in 1997(British Food Journal 99, 207-211) puts North American soil at 85% mineral depletion! This is further amplified in the book The End of Food by Thomas Pawlick.

In Ontario 80% of our produce is imported and travels on average 4000 km to get here. Farm to plate time leads to nutrient loss. Further in the GTA, we are losing 3% of our agricultural land to developers each year so farm to plate time will continue to increase.

You should buy local or organic food where possible, but the term "organic" simply means that the crop has been grown without pesticides or herbicides. In the case of animals, it means that they have not been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones. In the case of cattle, it means that they have been fed only grass and not grain. So the food should be better but its nutrient value may not be significantly better. Nutritional value depends on the nutrients in the soil and the quality of the feed given to the animal.

There is considerable concern in the references about Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) and the use of grain, antibiotics and hormones to raise our beef cattle. Its clear that on most farms productivity and efficiency are placed ahead of food quality and good nutrition. There are also some excellent articles on contaminants in farmed salmon.

Since it is so difficult to get proper nutrition from food alone, you should seriously consider taking supplements of Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 oil), Vitamins, Minerals, Bioflavonoids and Antoxidants.

References