The opinion about what is good for our health differs from person to person. The question whether organic fruits and vegetables are healthier than their conventionally grown counterparts still draws different answers from people all around the globe. Some may side with the latest trend of consuming organic veggies and fruits while there are those who uphold that the health benefits offered by conventionally grown crops are no different from those of organic ones.
A recent study conducted in the US and in print in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry states that organic fruits and vegetables are healthier than conventionally grown ones owing to their high flavonoid content. The results come after a ten-year long comparative analysis of levels of two flavonoids – quercetin and kaempferol in organic tomatoes and their conventionally grown counterparts. As much as 79% and 97 % higher amounts of quercetin and kaempferol respectively were reported in organic tomatoes.
The high flavonoid content in organic tomatoes is attributed to the lack of use of fertilizers in organic farming. It has been suggested that the deficiency of nitrogen due to the absence of use of fertilizers is the key to the mechanism that results in increased flavonoid production. High flavonoid content in fruits and vegetables is termed beneficial for our health as flavonoids offer cardiovascular benefits, decrease the risk of stroke, lower high blood pressure and trim down rates of certain type of cancers and even dementia.
However, the supremacy of organic foods cannot be established so easily. A recent study conducted shows that the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in organic milk are meager as compared to those of long-chain omega-3 oils found in oily fish. A spokesperson with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said,
“Our long-standing advice on organic food is there can be some nutrient differences but it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better for you.”
However, Peter Melchett, policy director with Soil Association said,
“As further scientific evidence emerges from new research looking at differences between organic and non-organic food, the Soil Association will be asking the FSA to keep their nutritional advice to consumers under review.”
How far this debate stretches as to what is better for our health, organic fruits and vegetables or their conventionally grown counterparts remains to be seen.