The National Broccoli Crisis

It seems that selecting plants for their ability to grow quickly results in their containing less nutrition.

Fruits, vegetables not as nutritious as 50 years ago. In spite of what Mother taught you about the benefits of eating broccoli, data collected by the U.S. government show that the nutritional content of America’s vegetables and fruits has declined during the past 50 years — in some cases dramatically.

Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas, said that of 13 major nutrients in fruits and vegetables tracked by the Agriculture Department from 1950 to 1999, six showed noticeable declines — protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C. The declines ranged from 6 percent for protein, 15 percent for iron, 20 percent for vitamin C, and 38 percent for riboflavin.

I learned to like beets, but not broccoli. Now maybe I don’t have to eat it any more?

Davis said he doesn’t want his study to encourage people to stop eating vegetables on the grounds they lack nutrients.

“That’s completely wrong,” he said, contending his study shows that people need to eat more vegetables and fruits, not less. “Vegetables are extraordinarily rich in nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals. They are still there, and vegetables and fruits are our best sources for these.”

If this means I have to eat *more* broccoli, then it’s definitely a serious issue.

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