Organic Fruit - New Evidence Shows Not Only Fewer Chemicals, But More Nutrients
Ask someone why they buy organic food, and the likely answer will be that organic foods are produced without synthetic chemicals and pesticides, many of which are known to be harmful. The question of whether foods grown organically are higher in nutrients has been ongoing, and most of us just hope and assume that they are also more nutritious.
A new study, performed over two years and just reported in the peer-reviewed journal, PLoS One, gives strong evidence that strawberries grown organically provide higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants than conventionally grown berries, and by amounts that have been deemed both statistically and nutritionally significant.
Surprisingly, the organically grown berries also were slower to decay or mold than berries grown conventionally which often have chemical preservatives added.
Perhaps the most important finding of the study was the difference in resulting soil quality when comparing organic with conventional growing methods. Soil treated organically tested either the same, or significantly better than did conventionally treated soil in 15 out of 31 desirable properties.
This is important because the results imply that ongoing soil health is a key nutritional factor, and the positive nutrient results from the test are likely to be transferable to other foods grown in soils that are treated organically.
The report, which can be read here, was directed by John Reganold, Regents Professor of Soil Science and Agro-Ecology at Washington State University. The two year study focused on three different varieties of strawberries, grown on twenty six different farms, half of them organic and the other half, conventional.
Professor Reganold recently discussed the results of the study on the "Science Friday" segment of National Public Radio, along with Kate Clancy, Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins Center For A Liveable Future, and Dr. Charles Benbrook, Chief Scientist at The Organic Center, in Boulder, Colorado. The interview is quite interesting and informative, and can be accessed here:
Strawberries photo by Anna Cervova