• Are Organic Foods Healthier?

  • [shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="5546488"]
  • organic food

    Before one can decide to go for organic food instead of conventional food, he or she must weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Are organic foods really healthier or not? Read more to know.

    By Dr. Mercola

    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 food

    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.” [Emphasis mine]

    Antioxidants are a very important part of optimal health, as they can control how fast you age by fighting free radicals. So the fact that organic foods contain far higher levels of them vouches for the stance that organic foods are healthier in terms of nutrition, in addition to being lower in pesticides.

    Co-author Charles Benbrook notes that one reason you’re advised to eat more fruits and vegetables is in fact to get more antioxidants into your diet. “And if organic produce provides more of them, we think that's a big deal,” he says. I couldn’t agree more.

    There are also a number of other studies that support the claim that organically grown produce contain higher levels of nutrients in general. For example, in 2010 PLOS ONE published a study that was partially funded by the USDA, which found that organic strawberries were more nutrient-rich than non-organic strawberries.

    Nutrient Content in Food Has Dramatically Declined

    Ironically, LA Times noted that It's not entirely clear to scientists whether the human body can absorb the extra antioxidants in organic foods and put them to use.” To me, this line of reasoning shows a remarkable depth of ignorance, if not outright deception.

    The nutrient content of foods has dramatically declined across the board since the introduction of mechanized farming in 1925. For example, as explained by Dr. August Dunning, chief science officer and co-owner of Eco Organics, in order to receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples!

    Were people prior to the 1950s eating foods that were “unnecessarily” nutrient-dense? Was most of their diet superfluous, in terms of the amount of nutrients a body can get by on?

    The idea that your body wouldn’t put the extra nutrients to good use is just plain silly! You did not suddenly develop a new set of genetic instructions over the past 60+ years that allow your body to thrive on toxins and “not know what to do” with antioxidants! So please, do not fall for that kind of nonsense.

    One of the primary reasons food doesn’t taste as good as it used to is also related to the deterioration of mineral content. The minerals actually form the compounds that give the fruit or vegetable its flavor. All of these issues go back to the health of the soil in which the food is grown.

    Healthy soils contain a huge diversity of microorganisms, and it is these organisms that are responsible for the plant’s nutrient uptake, health, and the stability of the entire ecosystem. The wide-scale adoption of industrial agriculture practices has decimated soil microbes responsible for transferring these minerals to the plants.

    In 2009, the American Association for the Advancement of Science featured a presentation on soil health and its impact on food quality, concluding that healthy soil indeed leads to higher levels of nutrients in crops.

    Agricultural chemicals destroy the health of the soil by killing off its microbial inhabitants, which is one of the primary problems with modern farming, and the reason why the nutritional quality of conventionally-grown foods is deteriorating. As reported by Scientific American back in 2011:

    “A landmark study on the topic by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

    They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding ‘reliable declines’ in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century.

    Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition… The Organic Consumers Association cites several other studies with similar findings: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent.”

    RSS-Banner

     

     

     

    Read full article: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/07/29/organic-food-healthier.aspx?x_cid=20140729_lead_facebookdoc


    Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

    No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!