Effects of Climate Change on Nutrition

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Photo Credit to iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Climate change affects a lot more than the general public knows. Sure, we know that it affects the ability for plants to thrive, but it goes deeper than that. Climate change has the could shrink the amount of minerals and protein in essential crops like rice and wheat. These crops are extremely important because nearly every person consumes them in some form.  Research is beginning to indicate that, due to climate change, the selenium deposits in soil used for agriculture will begin to thin out. Studies have shown that low selenium levels in humans can lead to weak immune systems and cognitive decline and approximately one in seven people worldwide already don’t consume enough. That’s approximately one billion people in the world who already fall short in selenium consumption and that number will only grow as the amount of selenium decreases. There is also indication that zinc and iron micro-nutrients could dwindle. Zinc and Iron deficiencies are even more prevalent throughout society with approximately two billion people suffering from a deficiency. These deficiencies result in a loss of approximately 63 million life years annually. It is also estimated that, by 2050, 138 million more people would develop a zinc deficiency as a result of the decrease in zinc levels.With these levels of selenium, iron, and zinc decreasing in crops it will be significantly harder for people to reach the required amount to stay healthy and they would have to eat more to make up for it.

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Photo Credits to Wikipedia.org

In 40 years it is estimated that the agricultural industry will have to produce 70% more food to feed the continuously growing human population. The only problem with this is that, as the climate changes, it will be harder to farm and produce food. Climate change is sending the earth down a dangerous path and there will need to be major changes in order to help reduce the rate of things such as pollution or global warming.

Sources:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/changing-climate-could-worsen-foods-nutrition?tgt=nr

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v510/n7503/full/nature13179.html#ref2

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