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November 18, 1950

Relation of Soil Content to Human Longevity: A Discussion of Balanced Soils, Balanced Foods and Balanced Health

JAMA. 1950;144(12):1044. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02920120068040

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On all sides growing interest is observable in the relation of the chemical composition of soil to the nutritive value of foods. There has been much speculation on the subject of just how close this relation is and on the factors which may play a role in improving the nutritive quality of foods. No one questions the fact that it is impossible for plants to contain the theoretical maximum of nutrients possible in individual varieties unless the soil contains the necessary basic plant nutrients. What makes environmental factors of soil and surroundings ideal? Our knowledge in this area is still limited, but it is sufficient to stimulate enthusiastic speculation. Speculation is healthy, but caution must be exercised lest speculation and established fact be confused. Neither is it justifiable for one to jump from conclusion to conclusion without making serious efforts to fill in the gaps where knowledge is incomplete. One

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