Dr. Jessica Shade is the Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center, a non-profit research and education organization focused on evidence-based science about the environmental and health benefits of organic food and farming.
Do you think eating organic is better for you? Recent studies are backing up what many thought: organic foods do indeed have a healthier nutritional profile than their conventional counterparts. And they’re also lower in pesticide residues.
Did you know?
- Eating organic fruits and vegetables could increase your antioxidant intake by 20-40%.
- Organic strawberries have more nutrients and antioxidants than their conventional counterparts.
- Organic tomatoes are 50% higher in vitamin C content than conventional tomatoes.
Antioxidants pack a bigger punch in organic fruit and vegetables.
A new study out of the United Kingdom found that organic crops have significantly higher antioxidant levels when compared to conventional crops. The international research team looked at antioxidant activity and found a 17% mean percentage difference between organic and conventional crops.
When assessing individual antioxidants in organic and conventional crops, the organic ones had 19% higher levels of phenolic acids, 69% higher levels of flavanones, 28% higher levels of stilbenes, 26% higher levels of flavones, 50% higher levels of flavonols, and 51% higher levels of anthocyanins.
That’s a lot of numbers but it all adds up to good news for organic food eaters. Do you eat those recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day? If so, eating organic foods rather than conventional is like getting two extra servings worth of antioxidants.
Several other studies examined individual crops and found similar antioxidant benefits of organic. A study published last year found that organic tomatoes on average were 50% higher in vitamin C content over conventional tomatoes, and had 139% higher total phenolic content.
A number of studies found that organic strawberries have more nutrients and antioxidants than their conventional counterparts. For example, one study showed that organic strawberries contain more vitamin C than conventional strawberries. Another study showed organic strawberries are also higher in fiber and total phenols, which are known for their antioxidant activity and support of cardiovascular health.
So, now you know: make sure you eat all your fruits and veggies AND make sure they are organic for the biggest nutritional bang for your buck.
Is nutrition one of your reasons for eating organic? What else makes organic important to you?
References and additional info:
- The Organic Center Hot Science
- The Organic Center: New Study Finds Health Benefits of Organics
- British Journal of Nutrition: Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops
- Science Daily on organic tomatoes
- PLOS One: The Impact of Organic Farming on Quality of Tomatoes Is Associated to Increased Oxidative Stress during Fruit Development
- PLOS One: Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems
- International Society of Horticultural Science: Effect Of Organic And Conventional Systems On Fruit Quality Of Strawberry