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The loss of micronutrients - 2

“A deficiency of even a single trace element in a soil can prevent plants thriving, even if all the major nutrient elements, water and light are present in optimal amounts” (77).

“In the last 50 years, runner beans have lost 100% of their sodium, watercress 90% its copper, broccoli 75% its calcium. Levels of other important minerals including magnesium, iron, phosphorous and potassium have also plummeted” (7).

In the 51 years from 1940 to 1991, farmed meat lost 41% of its calcium and 54% of its iron, while vegetables lost an average 50% calcium, 25% iron and magnesium, 76% copper and 59% zinc (97).

To illustrate a mere fraction of the problem this presents, the body requires magnesium for 300 different daily enzyme reactions, zinc for 200, and so on. For these micronutrients alone, there is no better natural source than certain good quality seaweeds.

It is salutory to recall that the benefits of many micronutrients including those of over half the currently known trace elements were unrecognised until the 1970s (98).

Over the same post-War period the saturated fat content of beef and chicken has risen by more than 400%, whilst essential omega-3 fats critical to the nervous, immune, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and eliminatory systems have declined in the same proportion (99).

“Britons typically now eat 4 kilograms of additives annually, while the fat content of the average chicken has risen from 2% to 22%...our intake of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids has decreased while the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids has gone through the roof...while...good health requires the two to be in balance...and the trans-fats routinely found in highly processed foods (eg. ready meals, sweets, crisps, salty snacks, takeaways) assume the same position in the brain as essential fatty acids” (103).