Health benefits of organic farming revealed
A new study has recently documented the advantages of organic food and crops over their conventional counterparts.
The findings suggested that organic foods and crops have 18 to 69 percent higher concentrations of antioxidant compounds and the levels of pesticide residues were usually 10-fold to 100-fold lower.
The team also found that organic crops have several nutritional benefits that stem from the way the crops were produced. A plant on a conventionally managed field would typically have access to high levels of synthetic nitrogen, and would marshal the extra resources into producing sugars and starches. As a result, the harvested portion of the plant would often contain lower concentrations of other nutrients, including health-promoting antioxidants.
The study looked at an unprecedented 343 peer-reviewed publications comparing the nutritional quality and safety of organic and conventional plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, and grains. The study team applied sophisticated meta-analysis techniques to quantify differences between organic and non-organic foods.
Without the synthetic chemical pesticides applied on conventional crops, organic plants also tend to produce more phenols and polyphenols to defend against pest attacks and related injuries. In people, phenols and polyphenols can help prevent diseases triggered or promoted by oxidative-damage like coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.
The researchers also found that conventional crops roughly have twice as much cadmium, a toxic heavy metal contaminant, as organic crops that could push some individuals over safe daily intake levels.
However, the team concluded that consumers who switch to organic fruit, vegetables, and cereals would get 20 to 40 percent more antioxidants. That's the equivalent of about two extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with no increase in caloric intake.
The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
(Posted on 13-07-2014)