A new study shows much higher antioxidant levels in organic foods. But that's not the only benefit.
We know that going organic is the best way to keep pesticides out of your body and to protect the environment. It's also the most efficient way of loading up on nutrients without loading up on calories or poisonous metals at the same time, according to new research published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Reviewing 343 studies, scientists concluded that organic foods blow conventionally grown foods out of the water when it comes to certain nutrition standards. "The study is telling a powerful story of how organic plant-based foods are nutritionally superior and deliver bona fide health benefits," says study author Charles Benbrook, PhD, a sustainability expert from Washington State University.
Here are some major findings from the new study:
- Organic fruits and vegetables contained 20 to 40 percent more disease-fighting antioxidants compared to chemically grown counterparts. "You get one, maybe two extra servings of antioxidants from those organic foods compared to if you bought conventional brands," says Benbrook. Translation: Eating only organic food would be the equivalent of eating an extra serving of fruit or veggies a day, without having to eat more food.
- Organic food is significantly (in some cases 48 percent!) lower in the poisonous metal cadmium compared to chemically grown crops. Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal and can be found in certain fertilizers. Ingesting too much cadmium has a bunch of health implications, including kidney stones.
- Besides the myriad of health problems stemming from pesticides (from allergies to cancer), this study proposes that pesticides also make our food less nutritious. The researchers reported that plants exposed to pesticides produce fewer natural pest defenses, including phenols and polyphenols. These naturally occurring compounds serve as antioxidants in people and have been shown to boost your brain, reduce anxiety, and protect your gut and liver. Plus, organic plants have more flavonoids, including 69 percent more flavanones, 26 percent more flavones, and 50 percent more flavonols.
The Organic Food Industry has skyrocketed in sales over the past few years. According to Ota.com and the Organic Trade Association’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey, all total U.S. organic sales went up 9.7 percent from 2009 to result in were $28.682 billion total in 2010. These sales are from food and non-food products, such as organic hair and skin products, supplements, and other living expenses.
The appeal of going organic comes from exactly knowing where your product came from and how it was formed. This is especially important for food products because that is the direct source to our overall daily energy. There are many ways to stay informed about what you buy and what you eat, and which products shape your lifestyle. Use this online guide to look up your local organic product providers and you’ll find that you have many options to look from.