Despite the evidence, many of us still ask whether it is worth it to buy organic foods. We ask: ‘Does it really make a difference?’
Numerous studies over the past two decades have concluded that organic foods are not only better for our health. They are also better for the planet. Let’s review some of the major studies that evidence these conclusions:
- A 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reviewed 343 studies and found that organic foods contain significantly more nutrients than their conventional counterparts. As an average, organic foods were found to contain 69% more flavanones, 51% anthocyanins and 50% more flavonols among many other critical phytonutrients. This study also found, of course, that organic foods contained less pesticide and other chemical residues.
- A 2014 study from Washington State University found that organic milks contain significantly better fats as compared to conventional milks. This study tested 14 difference milk producers from different parts of the country over an 18 month period. Their study showed that organic milk contains 62 percent more omega-3 fats, 32 percent more eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 19 percent more docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) fats. Organic milks also had 18 percent more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
- A study from French and Brazilian researchers found that, compared to conventional tomatoes, organic tomatoes had 139% more total phenolics; 140% more phenylalanine ammonia lyase levels – a measure of enzyme activity; 90 percent more antioxidant potency; 72 percent more yellow flavonoid content; 57 percent more vitamin C, 28 percent more citric acid; and 57 percent more flavor – measured by sweetness.
- A 2012 study from the Warsaw University of Life Science’s Faculty of Human Nutrition found that compared to conventional ones, organic sweet bell peppers had significantly more vitamin C, total carotenoids, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, total phenolic acids, gallic acid, chlorogenic acids, quercetin D-glucoside and kaempferol. These phytonutrients have been found to help prevent cancer and a number of other diseases.
- A study from the University of Aberdeen found that organic rice contains significantly less arsenic than conventional rices. Other studies have confirmed organic rice has less arsenic.
- A 2007 study from the University of California-Davis found that organic tomatoes contain 79 percent more quercetin – a proven anticancer food constituent.
- A 2010 study from Washington State University found that organic strawberries had significantly more vitamin C than conventional strawberries.
- A 2012 study from Spain found that organic broccoli contains more vitamin C along with other antioxidants compared to conventional broccoli. These include phenols and other anticancer components.
- A study from Italy’s University of Bologna found that organic red oranges contain significantly more anthocyanins, ascorbic acid and phenols than conventional red oranges.
- A 2006 study from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, which found that organic strawberries had higher levels of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that inhibited breast and colon cancer cells.
- A 2014 study from Oxford University found that organic farms support greater biodiversity. More specifically, this means they help support at least 50 percent more pollenator species and more than a third more species overall. The increase in biodiversity richness ranged from 26 percent to 43 percent overall as well.
- A pile of evidence is also showing that adding or spraying chemicals onto our crops is linked to – higher levels of greenhouse gasses; increasing incidence of celiac disease and wheat sensitivities; increasing ADHD incidence; increased neurological conditions; weakening the immune systems of bees; contributing to bee colony collapse; increasing childhood obesity; increasing antibiotic resistance among bacteria; increases in Parkinson’s disease; ruining our drinking water; increasing soil erosion around the world; and increased incidence of autism.
Okay, maybe that’s more than a dozen reasons. Even so, do you need any more reasons to eat organic foods?
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.