Capricorn – Physical – Root: AGRICULTURE

Agriculture, which originated together with livestock raising approximately 10,000 years ago, is a production process in which the land is worked, and the availability of the resource is controlled (Díaz- Guillén, 2010), and could have originated thanks to the great demand for food (due to the increase in human population) and, therefore, to the scarcity of animal protein caused by the high hunting activity and climatic phenomena. Therefore, it could have arisen as a necessity in the face of the decrease in animal food (Doval, 2005); other hypotheses maintain that food was sufficient and that there was plenty of time to spare, which was used for experimentation with different cultivation techniques.

In conjunction with agriculture, the domestication of various plant species contributed to facilitate the utilization of organisms. Domestication is defined as an evolutionary process in which the human species selects individuals (in this case, plant organisms for consumption) with certain desired characteristics and carries out agricultural management for their reproduction (Zizumbo-Villarreal and Colunga, 2008).

Both the domestication of plant and animal species led the human race to reduce the variety of organisms it consumed, since few animals could be domesticated, and few plants could be cultivated. This caused serious repercussions on health, due to the lack of nutrients because of the small variety of foods in the daily intake, and because of the large amount of energy invested in agricultural management (which was equal to or greater than that used in the hunting of large animal species).

With the change in diet, obesity appeared, among other things, due to an excessive intake of carbohydrates, as well as a reduction in height between 15 and 20 cm, and life expectancy was reduced by an average of 5 years. On the other hand, hunger was present in different places and at different periods of time (Doval, 2005). In some ways, agriculture did not prove to be very beneficial for human health since, apparently, some chronic degenerative diseases emerged along with it. For example, one type of cardiovascular disease is linked to an increase in homocysteine (precursor of the amino acid methionine) in the blood.

One way in which it increases is due to the C677T polymorphism of the MTHFR gene that codes for the MTHFR5 enzyme (10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, which is responsible for the metabolism of one-carbon compounds and methylation); This polymorphism is expressed in homozygous dominant organisms and causes a decrease in the donation of methyl groups to the enzyme methionine synthetase, thus reducing the transformation of homocysteine to methionine and increasing its blood concentration (Silveira-Rodriguez et al. , 2007, Morales-Machínet al., 2009).

Similarly, it is known that deficiency of vitamins B, E and carotenoids is related to an increase in cardiovascular diseases, and that micronutrient deficiency (zinc, iron, niacin, vitamins B6, B12 and E) is linked to direct DNA damage (Xacur-García et al., 2008). The decrease in the variety of foods in the daily intake was one of the causes of the deficiency of these nutrients in the organism.

With all of the above, it can be concluded that the origin of agriculture was not as good as it is thought, or at least not for human health. It is important to make it clear that agriculture has benefits for the current human population, such as the production of food to feed a large number of people and the possibility of producing it throughout the year. The above is not intended to blame agriculture for all chronic degenerative diseases, as these are multifactorial conditions. Today’s lifestyle is characterized by a sedentary lifestyle (not by settling in a geographical location like our ancestors, but by sitting on a sofa!), low physical activity and a diet based mainly on carbohydrates and fats. The question is: should we go back to the diet that our ancestors, the first Homo sapiens, had? Perhaps we could take that diet as a basis and take advantage of current technological tools and combine them with an agroecological culture, to reduce the incidence of these diseases that are the main factors that undermine the current human population.

I invite you to read Matías’ post with the topic of the day.

Finally, I encourage everyone to reflect on the concept of the day. No one else but us can re-signify our own being

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