Historical changes in the mineral content of fruit and vegetables in the UK from 1940 to 2019: a concern for human nutrition and agriculture

Anne-Marie Mayer, Liz Trenchard, Francis Rayns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Micronutrient malnutrition is widespread and is linked with diets low in fruit and vegetables. However, during the twentieth century, declines in essential minerals in fruits and vegetables were reported in the UK and elsewhere. A new analysis of long-term trends of the mineral content of fruits and vegetables from three editions of the UK’s Composition of Foods Tables (1940, 1991 and 2019) was undertaken. All elements except P declined in concentrations between 1940 and 2019 – the greatest overall reductions during this 80-year period were Na (52%), Fe (50%), Cu (49%) and Mg (10%); water content increased (1%). There could be many reasons for these reductions, including changes in crop varieties and agronomic factors associated with the industrialisation of agriculture. Increases in carbon dioxide could also play a role. We call for a thorough investigation of these reductions and steps to be taken to address the causes that could contribute to global malnutrition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-326
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Volume73
Issue number3
Early online date15 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Keywords

  • Fruit
  • agroecology
  • historical changes
  • mineral
  • nutritional quality
  • vegetable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Historical changes in the mineral content of fruit and vegetables in the UK from 1940 to 2019: a concern for human nutrition and agriculture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this