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Organic Consumers Association

New Analysis Concludes Organic Food Really is Healthier

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page and our Mad Cow page.


Are organic foods healthier, and therefore worth the extra expense? The scientific debate over this issue has raged on for many years now. I believe the answer is clear-cut, at least if you believe that toxic chemicals have the capacity to harm your health...

Two years ago, meta-analysis by Stanford University received widespread media coverage, and with few exceptions, conventional media outlets used it to cast doubt on the value of an organic diet.

This despite the fact that the analysis—which looked at 240 studies comparing organically and conventionally grown food—found that organic foods are less contaminated with agricultural chemicals. In an effort to further clarify the 2012 findings, a group of European scientists evaluated an even greater number of studies, 343 in all, published over the last several decades.

Organic Foods Have Higher Levels of Important Antioxidants

Just like the Stanford study, the new analysis also found that while conventional and organic vegetables oftentimes offer similar levels of many nutrients, organic foods have fewer pesticide residues. They also have on average 48 percent lower levels of cadmium, a toxic metal and a known carcinogen—a clear bonus, if you ask me.

One key nutritional difference between conventional and organics however, is their antioxidant content. According to the featured findings, organic fruits and vegetables can contain anywhere from 18-69 percent more antioxidants than conventionally-grown varieties. According to the authors:

“Many of these compounds have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers, in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies.

Additionally, the frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues was found to be four times higher in conventional crops... Significant differences were also detected for some other (e.g. minerals and vitamins) compounds.”


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