Throughout the world there is an increasing interest in organic agriculture for food production. Key reasons for this are that organic food often has greater nutritional value and fewer toxic chemicals.
One mechanism for the higher nutrient content of organic crops is that plants grown organically are exposed to insects and other potentially wounding components which lead to the plants producing higher levels of phytochemicals as a protective mechanism (1). When we consume the plants these phytochemicals have a protective effect on us as well. Conventionally farmed crops are treated with pesticides meaning the plants do not need to develop resilience in the same way.
There are many variables when it comes to the nutrient content of food but there are some clear trends in terms of nutrient content and health benefits of organic food. Here’s what the research shows:
Nutrient Content of Organic Food
Organic Food and Health
The lower toxic residues and higher antioxidant and nutrient content of organic foods leads to positive effects on health (4). Here is what the research says about the health benefits of eating organic food:
Animal studies and in vitro studies show a clear indication of a beneficial effect on health of organic food as compared to conventional ones (5).
Healthy Planet, Healthy People
And it’s not just about human health. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your impact on the environment through dietary change, it’s important to consider not just what you’re eating, but how it’s grown and where it comes from.
Along with eating more seasonally and locally, eating organic food has a crucial role to play in preserving our planet’s soils, capturing carbon from the atmosphere, and reducing polluting farming practices that have a detrimental impact on wildlife.
For more reasons to consider buying organic see blog posts Celebrate Organic Month and The True Cost of Food.
1. Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 17;9(1):19239. Solving the controversy of healthier organic fruit: Leaf wounding triggers distant gene expression response of polyphenol biosynthesis in strawberry fruit (Fragaria x ananassa). Ibanez F et al.
2. Environ Health. 2017 Oct 27;16(1):111. Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: a comprehensive review. Mie A et al.
3. Altern Med Rev. 2010 Apr;15(1):4-12. Organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer. Crinnion WJ.
4. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2020;71(2):131-136. Organic food and health. Glibowski P.
5. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Apr 8;11(4):3870-93. Contribution of organically grown crops to human health. Johansson E et al.
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