Organic food benefit

Topics: Organic food, Organic farming, Antioxidant Pages: 10 (6084 words) Published: September 17, 2014
Environmental Medicine

Organic Foods Contain Higher Levels of
Certain Nutrients, Lower Levels of Pesticides,
and May Provide Health Benefits for the
WalterJ.Crinnion, ND

WallerCrinnion, ND~
University; practice since
1982 with a special focus on
treating (hronic diseases
caused by environmental
toxit burden; conducts
post-graduate seminars in
environmental medicine;
professor and chair of the
Environmental Medicine
Program, Southwest College
of Naturopathic Medicine,
Tempe, AZ; contributing
Email: w.trinnioniia)

The multi-billion dollar organic food industry is fueled by
consumer perception that organic food is healthier (greater
nutritional value and fewer toxic chemicals). Studies of the nutrient content in organic foods vary in results due to
differences in the ground cover and maturity of the organic
farming operation. Nutrient content also varies from farmer to farmer and year to year. However, reviews of multiple studies show that organic varieties do provide significantly greater levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus than

non-organic varieties of the same foods. While being higher in these nutrients, they are also significantly lower in nitrates and pesticide residues. In addition, with the exception of
wheat, oats, and wine, organic foods typically provide greater levels of a number of important antioxidant phytochemicals
(anthocyanins, flavonoids, and carotenoids). Although in vitro studies of organic fruits and vegetables consistently demonstrate that organic foods have greater antioxidant activity, are more potent suppressors of the mutagenic action of toxic

compounds, and inhibit the proliferation of certain cancer cell lines, in vivo studies of antioxidant activity in humans have failed to demonstrate additional benefit. Clear health benefits from consuming organic dairy products have been demonstrated in regard to allergic dermatitis. fy;/fem Meí//íei/2010;15(l):4-12)

fewer pesticide residues. Far fewer studies have
been conducted to assess either the potential or
actual health benefits of eating organic foods.


Differences between Growers and Sou Quality
Of six recent studies of nutrient content of
organic tomatoes, only one showed no significant
differences between organic and conventional
farms."' This study, conducted in Taiwan, did find
tbat wbile there was no difference in lycopene
levels between tbe types of farms, farm management skills and site-specific effects (e.g., geograpbical area and orientation to the sun) did make a difference in how much lycopene was present. A
California study of four different growers in one
year found organically raised tomatoes have

Organic food consumption is one of the fastest
growing segments of U.S. domestic foodstuffs.
Sales of organic food and beverages grew from $1
billion in 1990 to $21.1 billion in 2008 and are on
track to reach $23 billion in 2009.' Consumers
generally perceive tbese foods to be healthier and
safer for themselves and the environment.^'^ A
plethora of studies in the last two decades bave
assessed whether organic foods have bigher levels
of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals tban
conventionally raised foods and whether they have

Factors Affecting Nutritional Content
of Produce
Determining tbe potential nutritional superiority of organic food is not a simple task. Numerous factors, apart from organic versus inorganic
growing, influence the amount of vitamins and
pbytochemicals (phenols, flavonoids, carotenoids,
etc.) in a crop. These factors include the weather
(affecting crops year-to-year), specific environmental conditions from one farm to the next (microclimates), soil condition, etc. Another major factor not taken into account in the published studies was

the length of time tbe specific plots of land had
been worked using organic methods. Since it takes
years to build soil quality...

References: htm [Accessed January 20, 2010]
11 [Accessed January 20,
Changes in USDA food composition
data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to
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