The largest study of its kind found that organic foods and crops have more antioxidants and less pesticide residues compared to conventional produce. Overall, the researchers found that organic produce, produced without synthetic pesticides, tend to contain more antioxidants—18 to 69 percent higher concentrations—compared to conventional. These higher levels are because the plants—free of synthetic pesticides—have to mount an antioxidant defense to protect against pest attacks and injury. In addition, conventional crops had much higher levels of pesticide residues, as well as heavy metals. However, it’s important to consider that the benefits of organic agriculture extend far beyond nutrient value. Organic production helps create healthy soils and waterways, crop and species diversity, resource conservation, and healthier farm communities.
The study, which looked at 343 peer-reviewed publications comparing organic produce to conventional produce, was led by scientists at Newcastle University in the U.K., and was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. In the wake of previous studies, which showed no clear nutritional benefits for choosing organic produce, this study seems to reaffirm the advantages of supporting organic agriculture.
—Sharon Palmer, RD, Editor, EN
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