Organic Food Store Produce Higher in Antioxidants
Organic health food store produce was recently compared to standard produce in a major university study, and the results were surprising to say the least. The research focused on organically-grown tomatoes versus standard tomatoes, and it was determined that the organics contained almost twice the levels of heart-healthy antioxidants, especially flavonoids.
Studies have shown that flavonoids can reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk of many types of heart disease and even strokes. Researches theorize that high levels of nitrogen in the organic soil could cause these benefits to organically grown produce.
The study, carried out at the University of California, measured amounts of two different flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol, in organic tomato samples collected in relation to general agricultural research.
The UC team’s findings confirm russian grocery European research, which suggests that organically-grown tomatoes, peaches, apples, and other fruits contain higher nutritional value than non-organic fruits.
On average, the organic fruits proved 80-90% higher in antioxidants than standard, conventionally-grown produce. Other experts attribute the differing levels of flavonoids to the absence of fertilizer in the organic farming methods.
Flavonoids themselves are produced as a defense mechanism, and can be triggered by a deficiency in nutrients–a lack of soil nitrogen, for example. But the inorganic nitrogen found in conventional fertilizer may lower the levels of flavonoids found in fruit, suggesting the most likely cause for this lack could be nothing more than over-fertilization.
In addition to their obvious heart-health benefits, Flavonoids are also linked to reduced rates of certain types of cancers, as well as dementia. Studies are currently underway to determine if flavonoids may have other health benefits as well.
Since this was only the second American study to find significant differences between organic and non-organic produce, researchers warn that more studies are necessary before any definitive conclusions can be reached.
Still, organic health food store food is considered a healthy alternative by many consumers, and the few studies available seem to suggest that organic produce is worth the time and expense to seek out.