The nutrient value of some popular vegetables, from spinach to asparagus, has dropped massively since 1950! A study conducted in 2004 in America has found that important nutrients in some of the garden crops are up to 38% lower than they were during the middle part of the 20th century. On average, across a range of 43 vegetables that were analysed, calcium content had declined 16%, phosphorus by 9%, and iron by 15%. The vitamins ascorbic acid and riboflavin both dropped massively, while there were also slight declines in overall protein levels.

What’s happening?

Prompted by the food shortages that occurred after the Second World War, scientists then developed a new set of high-yield varieties of crops and different breeds of livestock to boost food production. Couple this with improvements in different varieties of irrigation and the creation of affordable tractors, and crop productivity began to increase drastically.

While yields increased, levels of nutrients in the crops declined massively, bringing the intensive farming techniques seen here under intense scrutiny.

Should we be worried?

While there are scientists who feel the decline in nutrient levels within our food over the many decades is too small to be potentially significant, the health of our soils is still a massively important relationship to the nutritional quality of all of our food. A US trial has been examining vegetables that are grown under a variety of different farming techniques in order to better understand exactly what this link really is.

A single teaspoon of soil contains more microbes than there are number of people on the planet itself. Intertwined with this network of mind-boggling life is another network of fungal filaments that are called mycorrhiza, a symbiotic relationship between microbes and plants that act as extensions of their roots.

There is a consistent dance of nutrient pass-the-parcel going on from soil to the plant. The influence of mycorrhizae is evident because it has been commercially harnessed in order to improve the productivity of crops. Specialised soil fungi will effectively extend the system of the plant root with mycelium, with a web of microscopic, long filaments called hyphae too.

 Whether human selection or natural, weather or farming techniques, the nutritional content of food is influenced by many different factors. Ensuring that we do get the best version of the foods that are grown requires a truly in-depth understanding of the network of nutrients that ultimately flows around us. What is needed is a production of food system that monitors nutrition in our food and allows it to be universally comparable, and a commercial model that truly values nutrition above everything else. If this sounds like the kind of food you’re interested in, then come to Lauren’s and get ordering today! You wont regret it, we can assure you.

 If you are looking for a reliable buffet caterer to provide you with delicious and exciting food for your Jubilee party, look no further than Lauren’s Catering.

 We are a family run firm and have been catering for the people of Gloucester for over 25 years, so you may well know us already. We are incredibly talented when it comes to cooking up a variety of tasty food. We take pride in delivering a service that leaves our customers feeling best pleased! When it comes to catering, we understand that the customer is always king. So we have included as much variety in our sandwich options as we can!

Find out more about our buffet catering services here or, discover what else we get up to here at Lauren’s Catering, and whether we can help you with your catering journey.