Organic really is better!

A new study came out recently revealing what I’ve always figured. That organically grown crops are better for you – not so surprising!

The Newcastle University study is the most up-to-date and extensive investigation into the nutrient content of organic crops, in comparison to non-organic crops, collating results of more studies than ever before.

The results of this meta-analysis showed that organic crops have:

  • 20-40% higher antioxidant levels (in some compounds this figure increased to 70%)
  • 48% lower levels of cadium (a metal contaminant toxin)
  • 87% lower levels of nitrogen and pesticide residues

What does this mean for our health?

A diet rich in antioxidants can protect against chronic illnesses including cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative diseases, as well as certain cancers.

So higher levels of antioxidants in organically grown crops mean that, mouthful for mouthful, you’re consuming more of these beneficial nutrients.

A reduction in cadium consumption which accumulates in the liver and kidneys, is also positive for our long term health.

Why has this report caused such a stir? 

The report has had a fair amount of criticism leveled against it and has been heavily debated in parliament.

Even Raymond Blanc waded in saying organic produce is ‘elitist’ (this is the owner of Michelin star restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons!).

The concern is that organic produce is unaffordable for many families, so pushing the message it’s better for you may stop people consuming non-organic in the belief it’s no good.

It’s a fair point but there was never any suggestion that eating non-organic crops has no health benefit. Of course it has. And consumption of any fruit and veg is vastly better than eating none at all!

What the study and subsequent discussion seems to have missed is the other benefit of buying certified organic – traceability.

Organic produce has to be verified by a third party (such as the Soil Association in the UK), which monitors the complete supply chain from seed to shop shelf. This means you know that the seed is non-GM, it has been planted in clean soil and that no pesticides have been used during its cultivation.

In the world of beauty, this traceability means you can tell the real organic brands from the fake. And back in the world of food… you can be sure you won’t find horse meat in an organic lasagne.

More expensive, certainly. But the benefits of buying organic can be about a lot more than increased nutritional content.

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