Are There Any Real Benefits In Buying Organic Produce?
The controversy continues over the nutritional and health supremacy of organic fruits and produce over conventionally grown. Every week a new ‘definition’ point of view is established. These are some facts to take into account.
It has been found that in about 60% of studies that organic food is higher in some nutrients than conventionally produced food. These statistics can be refuted by other studies, but you need to look if the studies that are being compared are done on the same physical area, over-time. Otherwise you’re comparing apples to oranges because the soil being tested is not the same.
Polyphenols are antioxidants and may be one of the main reasons fruits and vegetables are healthy for us. One issue to consider is what the organic growing process filters versus conventional growing. Plants grown organically have to grow stronger from the start because they have to fend off a range of insects and growth disease on their own. This ‘defensive compound’ they create may help to keep us healthier according to Charles Benbrook, a researcher at Washington State University. He is with the National Academy of Sciences as chief science consultant for the Organic Center. He states. “If you keep putting on more and more nitrogen fertilizer the way conventional farms do, you drive yields up and produce bigger plants. But, this dilutes the plants’ levels of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols.”
Apples, celery, pears, potatoes, strawberries, sweet bell peppers and sweet potatoes are higher in pesticides on the Dietary Risk Index (DRI), and lower on the Organic Risk Index (ORI). This affects their shelf-life, and sugar content. Also to be considered is if the plants are grown domestically (where they are subject to our mandates and regulations about growing procedures) or abroad.
Bottom Line? Seek out the information in DRI from the EPA and other agencies, and imported vs. domestic statistics when you are making decisions about whether you want to buy organic or domestic fruits and vegetables. Make informed decisions with all of the facts.