We are often told we should eat more fruits and vegetables and to select organic products when possible. What are the best reasons to eat organic food?
Here are four reasons you should consider organic fruits and vegetables whenever they are available.
#1. Nutritional value
Depending on which study you believe, organic food is more nutritious than conventionally grown food. In a study from the University of Sydney, for example, the researchers found that “the micronutrient content of food groups was more frequently reported to be higher for organic vegetables and legumes compared to their conventional counterparts.” A subsequent meta-analysis of more than 300 studies reported that “organic crops, on average, have higher concentrations of antioxidants…than the non-organic comparators across regions and production seasons.”
Most people buy organic foods because they want to limit their exposure to pesticides. Results of a 300+ study meta-analysis found that “the frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues was found to be four times higher in conventional crops” than in organically grown ones, and “also contained significantly higher concentrations of the toxic metal Cd [cadmium].”
Some studies indicate that children are especially susceptible to pesticides. A study in the Journal Environmental Health Perspectives showed that children are critically vulnerable to the impact of environmental pesticides up to age seven and possibly longer because they lack sufficient levels of an enzyme most responsible for detoxifying pesticides. Many conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables also contain high levels of cancer causing pesticides.
Organic farming methods are designed to benefit the environment by conserving water, replenishing the soil naturally, and reducing pollution.
Proponents of organic food insist organic produce tastes better. Regardless of whether produce is grown organically or conventionally, the freshest fruits and vegetables are most likely to have the best taste.
Baranski M et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition 2014 Sep 14: 112(5): 794-811
Hunter D et al. Evaluation of the micronutrient composition of plant foods produced by organic and conventional agricultural methods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 2011 Jul; 51(6): 571-82