The Benefits of Organic Foods
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The Benefits of Organic Foods
A 2003 study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that organic foods are better for fighting cancer (Journal Agricultural Food Chemistry, February 26, 2003;51(5):1237-41). In 2005, researchers found that, compared to rats that ate conventional diets, organically fed rats experienced various health benefits.
- Stronger immune system
- Better sleeping habits
- Less weight
- Higher vitamin E levels in their blood
The Nutrient Content:
Conventionally grown produce is jumbo-sized resulting in what is referred to as the "genetic dilution effect," in which selective breeding to increase crop yield led to declines in protein, amino acids and minerals - that means that the larger produce generally have a higher carbohydrate content than their organically grown counterparts.
More Nutrients: Donald R. Davis - a former research associate with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin - claims the average vegetable found in today's supermarket is anywhere from 5% to 40% lower in minerals (including magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc) than those harvested just 50 years ago. A review of 41 studies comparing the nutritional value of organically to conventionally grown fruits, vegetables and grains, also indicates organic crops provide substantially more of several nutrients, including:
- 40% more antioxidants
- 60% more disease fighting phenols than traditionally farmed produce. In a study, corn grown with little or no pesticides had almost 60 percent higher levels of phenols than conventionally grown corn. Strawberries were nearly 20 percent higher in phenols.
- 27% more vitamin C (Please refer to "Vitamin C - The Key for Good Health")
- 21.1% more iron
- 29.3% more magnesium
- 13.6% more phosphorus
Researchers suspect that pesticide use somehow inhibits the formation of these nutrients.
- Milk from organic herds contained up to 90 percent more antioxidants
The researchers stated that eating organic foods can help to increase the nutrient intake of people who don't eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
(Ref. EU funded project called the Quality Low Input Food (QLIF) project.)
The Problem with Pesticides and Chemical Fertilizers:
In the United States it can be assumed that just about all municipal drinking water contains pesticide residues and with the exception of organic foods, so does the food supply.
A study was published in the Environmental Health Perspectives (Vol. 111, 2003) assessing organophosphorus (OP) pesticide exposure from diet by biological monitoring among Seattle, Washington, preschool children. Parents kept food diaries for 3 days before urine collection, and they distinguished organic and conventional foods based on label information. Children were then classified as having consumed either organic or conventional diets based on analysis of the diary data. Urine samples from 18 children with organic diets and 21 children with conventional diets were analyzed and the researchers found an approximately six times higher exposure levels for children with conventional diets than for children with organic diets. According to this study, the consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children's exposure to OP pesticides.
Even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people, especially during vulnerable periods of fetal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects. The negative impact of pesticides on our health, even at very small trace levels, is well documented. Pesticide exposure compromises the liver's ability to process other toxins, the cells' ability to produce energy, and the nerves' ability to send messages. Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood, or in some cases completely unstudied, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible.
- Nearly all of the data used to create these lists already considers how people typically wash and prepare produce (for example, apples are washed before testing, bananas are peeled).
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