Image: Lily MihalikIn 1950, your parents, grandparents, or a perhaps a younger version of you could eat a handful of string beans — about three-and-a-half ounces — and get about 9 percent of the calcium you needed for the day. Almost 50 years later, in 1999, the amount of calcium in string beans dropped by 43 percent, leaving you with only 5 percent of your daily calcium. You could eat more string beans — except you might not want to, because they wouldn’t be as flavorful as in the past. So you could eat more of other vegetables, but it’s likely other vegetables wouldn’t have as much calcium or flavor as they used to, either. And it’s not just calcium: Preliminary research shows that many vegetables have lost significant amounts of nutritional value.
Donald Davis, a scientist retired from the University of Texas at Austin, and his colleagues published a study in 2004 comparing U.S. Department of Agriculture data on vegetable nutrients from 1950 to data from 1999, and found notable decreases, particularly for key nutrients like calcium, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin, and ascorbic acid.
Davis believes that the primary reason f... Read more