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06
Jul

Study Finds Organic Produce Has Health Benefits

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2007) Organic fruit and vegetables may be better for the heart and general health than eating conventionally grown crops, according to new research from the University of California. A ten-year study comparing organic tomatoes with standard produce found that they have almost double the quantity of disease-fighting antioxidants called flavonoids.

Flavonoids help to prevent high blood pressure and thus reduce the likelihood of heart disease and strokes. They have also been linked with reduced rates of some types of cancer and dementia.

Alyson Mitchell, Ph.D., a food chemist at the University of California, Davis, and colleagues measured the amount of two flavonoids—quercetin and kaempferol—in dried tomato samples that had been collected as part of a long-term study on agricultural methods. They found that on average the flavonoids were 79% and 97% higher, respectively, in the organic tomatoes than in the conventionally grown fruit. The study is due to be published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

New Scientist magazine reports that the different levels of flavonoids in tomatoes are probably due to the absence of synthetic fertilizers in organic farming. Flavonoids are produced as a defense mechanism that can be triggered by nutrient deficiency, such as a lack of nitrogen in the soil. The inorganic nitrogen in conventional fertilizer is easily available to plants and so, the researchers suggest, the lower levels of flavonoids may be caused by over-fertilization.

This new study adds to a growing amount of evidence that organic produce may have health benefits over conventionally grown produce. A 2006 study out of the University of Texas found that organically grown fruits and vegetables have higher levels of antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals than their conventionally grown counterparts. Another University of California at Davis study, also by Dr. Mitchell, published in 2003 found greater nutritional attributes in organically grown food, which the authors believe may result from the lack of insecticides and herbicides used (see Daily News story).

Another 2003 study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found additional benefits to eating organic by examining levels of metabolites of organophosphate pesticides in children who ate conventional foods compared with children who ate a diet of organic foods. Children with organic diets have significantly lower body burdens of toxic pesticides and their metabolites (see Daily News story).

TAKE ACTION: Eat organic food whenever possible. Look for the USDA Certified Organic Label when buying food for your family, grow your own produce and/or buy from a local farm that discloses their practices.

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One Response to “Study Finds Organic Produce Has Health Benefits”

  1. 1
    Merchant Says:

    That’s interesting! Reminds me of how I have always been allergic to citrus fruits and found myself turning blue in the face the moment I bit into one. I grew up resigned to the fact that I couldn’t enjoy any type of citrus fruits and always envied my friends a bit because they didn’t have this problem. Now I have a kid of my own and he also seems to have the same allergies. I always thought it’s a pity he couldn’t eat citrus fruits but never gave it much thought, till recently.

    Some friends suggested I try organic fruits what are grown naturally, without preservatives or any artificial flavoring. According to some studies, it is these man-made chemicals that cause allergies, not the fruit per se. I googled this topic and consulted several specialists who all agreed it was worth a shot. I scoured the whole of Manhattan before I found some shops selling good quality, organic fruits. I had one myself and I was overjoyed – no reaction! I gave one fruit to my son and anxiously waited for a reaction – nothing! I was ecstatic; finally, I could eat and binge on any type of citrus fruit of my choice! We pigged out on the fruits I had bought that day and we felt we had just finished a meal fit for the kings J

    This of course led me to my next problem – how could I get hold of the fruits regularly, on a daily basis? I was a single, working mother and everyone knows how harrowing that can be. Add to it a long commute to get hold of a few organic fruits – it was a recipe for disaster. So, by then, I thought we could only have our dose of fruits on weekends when we both made a real outing of going across town for our ‘fix’.

    And one day, it felt just like Christmas! Almost as if Santa had himself organized an extra special treat just for me and my baby! One day I was just surfing the net when I decided to see which is the best organic fruit shop in New York. Turned out it was some innocuous Organic Fruit and Veggie Club. The reason they were so popular was simple – they home-delivered good quality organic fruits and veggies which was supposed to be quite fresh and with some yummy discounts.

    I decided to give them a try – and boy was I surprised! I dialed 877-333-7722 and got a king’s ransom worth of organic fruits and veggies at my doorstep. It didn’t cost the earth, it didn’t take any time or effort trudging across town, and it was absolutely delicious! Needless to add, I am completely bowled over and my son and I pig out on the citrus fruits every day of our lives. We have become addicts, without a hope in hell of ever leading a completely normal life ever again.

    I have some complaints about these guys, though – for one, I think these guys should get a website where net junkies like me could possibly order my organic ‘fix’ by clicking a button. Also, how about some customer loyalty points for die-hard loyalists like me? And why not, even a get-together or a real club of other organic addicts and people who patronize the Organic Fruit and Veggie Club. Heck, it could turn in to a mass frenzy, methinks!

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