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Organic Produce is more Nutritious, Study Concludes

Update Date: Jul 12, 2014 10:00 AM EDT
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For years, organic food advocates have believed that eating organic produce is better for health. Despite these claims, researchers have not found concrete evidence that organic products, which tend to be more expensive, are more nutritious. In a recent study, researchers conducted a comprehensive review of previously published studies and found that organic fruits, vegetables and grains contain more antioxidants and fewer pesticides than non-organic produce. However, the researchers could not conclude whether or not organic foods could improve one's overall health.

"It shows very clearly how you grow your food has an impact," said study lead investigator, Carlo Leifert, a professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University in England reported by the New York Times. "If you buy organic fruits and vegetables, you can be sure you have, on average, a higher amount of antioxidants at the same calorie level."

In this study, the research team conducted a meta-analysis using data taken from 343 previous studies. The studies' sample sizes varied greatly. Overall, the researchers concluded that organic fruits, vegetables and grains had 17 percent more antioxidants in comparison to non-organic crops. More specifically, organically grown crops contained 69 percent more flavanones than conventionally grown crops. The researchers stated that they conducted the study in multiple ways and achieved similar results each time.

Despite the study's findings, the researchers could not conclude that eating organic crops actually improve health. The team noted that in other studies, researches have concluded that eating antioxidants can improve health.

"We are not making health claims based on this study, because we can't," Dr. Leifert said. "To say organic food is definitely healthier for you, and it doesn't tell you anything about how much of a health impact switching to organic food could have."

The study is set to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The abstract can be found here.

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