1998 – A review, published in MEDLINE (Alternative Therapies, Volume 4, No. 1, pgs. 58-69), found that there was higher protein quality, levels of vitamin C, and minerals in organically-grown foods. In some cases, mineral levels were dramatically higher as much as three times higher in one study involving iron content.
1999 – Certified nutrition specialist, Virginia Worthington, reviewed 41 published studies and compared the nutritional value of organically-grown with conventionally-grown fruits, vegetables, and grains. She found that organically-grown food contained the following:
- 27% more vitamin C
- 21.1% more iron
- 29.3% more magnesium, and
- 13.6% more phosphorus
In addition, organic products had 15.1% less nitrates than their conventional counterparts. Nitrates are a major constituent of chemical fertilizers and bind to hemoglobin. In infants, particularly, nitrates can significantly reduce the body’s ability to carry oxygen. She also noted that five servings of organic vegetables (lettuce, spinach, carrots, potatoes and cabbage) provided the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for men and women, while their conventional counterparts did not.
2000 – A study commissioned by the Organic Retailers and Growers Association of Australia (ORGAA) found that conventionally grown fruit and vegetables purchased in supermarkets and other commercial retail outlets had ten times less mineral content than fruit and vegetables grown organically.
2001 – Despite claims to the contrary, studies are finding that organically-grown foods really are nutritionally superior to those grown conventionally. The Nutrition Science News highlights one study.
2001 – The Soil Association of England asked Shane Heaton, a nutritionist, to analyze available studies on nutrient differences between organically and conventionally grown food. He basically found that organically-grown crops contained more essential minerals, vitamin C, and phytonutrients. However, Alex Avery, director of research and education at the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute, who frequently disputes claims for the positive health benefits of organic farming, said that Mr. Heaton’s study was tainted because of his affiliation with the Soil Association. When it was pointed out that Mr. Averys organization received financing from Monsanto, he said no more.
2001 – Vegetables Without Vitamins – a 2001 Report
2002 – A study, published in Science Daily Magazine by chemistry professor Theo Clark from Truman State University, in Mississippi, found that organic oranges contained 30% more vitamin C than conventionally grown oranges, even though they were only about half the size. Clark had expected the conventionally grown oranges, which were twice as large, to have twice the vitamin C as the organic versions. Instead, chemical isolation combined with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed the much higher level in organic oranges. The reason for the size difference is thought to be this. Conventionally-grown oranges are given nitrogen fertilizers, which cause an uptake of more water, more or less diluting the contents. Therefore, although you get a great big orange, it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
2002 A three-year study in Italy, published in the August issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found higher levels of polyphenols in organic peaches and pears with a higher amount of vitamin C in organic peaches.
2003 – A release from the University of California in Davis stated that organically or sustainably-grown corn and berries contained up to 58% more polyphenolics and natural antioxidants. This scientific study breaks new ground by suggesting that sustainable growing practices may allow plants to have naturally higher levels of polyphenolics since they help fight off such pests as insects. Polyphenolics are believed to reduce the risks of some cancers and heart disease.
2003 – A study in the January issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that there was 52% more vitamin C in frozen organic corn than in conventional corn and 67% more in corn raised by sustainable methods (a combination of organic and conventional farming). Polyphenols were significantly higher in organic and sustainable marionberries compared to conventionally farmed ones.
2003 – Organic foods usually contain more flavonoids than conventionally grown foods, according to Danish research published in the August issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. After 22 days of dietary trials, researchers analyzed levels of flavonoids and other markers of antioxidant defenses in the food and in the participants blood and urine samples. Results indicated a significantly higher content of the flavonoid quercetin in the organic produce and in the subjects urine samples when on the organic produce diet. In addition, urinary levels of another flavonoid, kaempferol, were also much higher on the organically-grown diet as compared to a conventionally-grown one.
2004 – A study was presented by a food chemist from the University of California at Davis to the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting. This study showed that organically-grown tomatoes had higher levels of vitamin C as well as secondary plant metabolites, which have been found to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. They also found that organically-grown broccoli had higher levels of cancer-fighting flavonoids, which are known antioxidants.
2004 – A UK study published in Coronary and Diabetic Care by the Association of Primary Care Groups and Trusts reported some interesting findings. Author James Cleeton, Policy Projects Co-ordinator at the Soil Association, stated that a predominantly organic diet:
- reduces the amount of toxic chemicals ingested;
- totally avoids GMOs;
- reduces the amount of food additives and colourings;
- increases consumption of beneficial nutrients (vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants);and
- appears to lower incidences of cancer, coronary heart disease, allergies and hyperactivity in children.
2005 – A Danish study found that organic milk contains higher levels of vitamin E, Omega-3 essential fatty acids, anti-oxidants, and beta carotene than milk from cows farmed conventionally. This study found that organically-produced milk was 50% higher in vitamin E, 75% higher in beta carotene, and two to three times higher in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthine.
Mounting evidence is proving that organically-grown fruits, vegetables, and grains offer more nutrients, especially vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also offer less exposure to nitrates and pesticide residues, as well as such heavy metals as aluminum, cadmium, lead, and mercury.
- Aluminum has long been associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and is about 40% less in organically-grown food.
- Lead toxicity has also long been known to lower a childs IQ and is about 29% lower in organically-grown food.
- Mercury can cause neurologic damage and is, on average, 25% lower in organically-grown foods.
Some of the nutrients consistently found to be higher in organic foods are:
- Boron is more than 70% higher in organically-grown foods. Boron has been shown to help prevent osteoporosis because it is one of over two dozen nutrients required for normal bone metabolism.
- Calcium, on average, is 63% higher in organically-grown foods. It is a major nutrient required by the body. Although 99% of it is found in bones and teeth, the other 1%, found in the bloodstream, is equally important for such metabolic activities as bloodclotting and the transmission of nerve impulses.
- Chromium, on average, is 78% higher in organic foods. A deficiency in this trace mineral has been associated with the onset of adult diabetes and atherosclerosis.
- Lithium, used to treat certain types of depression, is at least 188% higher in organically-grown foods.
- Magnesium, on average, is 138% higher in organically-grown foods. It helps with calcium absorption and is therefore, necessary in helping to prevent osteoporosis. It is also been shown to reduce mortality from heart attacks and to prevent or reduce muscles spasms.
- Selenium, on average, is 390% higher in organically-grown foods. The mineral is an antioxidant that is proving to help protect the body against environmental chemicals, as well as such diseases as cancer and heart disease.