Soil can influence human health in several ways. Fundamentally, the food that human beings consume comes from plants and the animals that utilize them as food. The facts beg for the primary question-can human health be affected by what plants grow in? Here’s what researchers have to say in light of that;
Human Health and Soil Microbes
In essence, the earth is made up of 96 natural elements. Of these, 30 mineral nutrients contribute to life and biochemistry. The nutrients also have enzymes and important biochemical processes to aid the growth of important microorganisms in the soil. Human beings need these nutrients for the proper functioning of the body.
Soil microorganisms work with plants to dissolve the essential minerals for sustainable plant growth. Ideally, the microorganisms selectively utilize adequate ratios of nutrients that plants and animals need. They also prevent the uptake of toxic components that may harm the soil, plants, and in turn, human health.
Human Health and Fertilizer Inputs
In the past, microbial uptake of nutrients mostly determined the health and nutrient value of most agricultural plants and animals. In today’s century, however, pesticides and chemical fertilizers are being used frequently to enhance yields and agricultural profits.
Excess utilization of the chemicals and biocides, i.e., fungicides, herbicides and pesticides killed the microbes that previously sustained uptake of essential nutrients. Subsequently, plants have become dependent on high levels of fertilizer nutrients, i.e., Phosphorus, Nitrogen, and Potassium. They lack the essential ones such as Selenium that are made available by natural soil microbes. Selenium, for instance, kills cancer cells in the human body, yet the foods that they consume don’t have it, among other nutrients.
Such depletion also affects plants. They often contain high levels of various toxic elements because their protective microbial membrane layers are destroyed. Hence, the plants cannot exclude the toxic components selectively. Other agricultural practices, such as heavy cultivation also disturb the essential microbial communities.
Healthy soils produce food with the help of several natural microbial processes. They ensure the uptake of suitable nutrients while excluding toxic elements. In parallel to the adoption of industrial foods, human beings should take action to restore the integrity of what they eat. Extensive awareness should be done to recognize that they are healthy when they eat healthy foods from healthy soils.