Bringing It Down to the Earth

The debate over whether organic food is healthier than conventionally grown food may be over, according to results from a $25-million study into organic food. The largest study of its kind, to date, has found that organic produce is more nutritious than ordinary produce and may even help to lengthen people’s lives.

The four-year, European-Union-funded study found that:

  • Organic fruit and vegetables contain up to 40 percent more antioxidants
  • Organic produce had higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc
  • Milk from organic herds contained up to 90 percent more antioxidants

The researchers obtained their results after growing fruit and vegetables, and raising cattle, on adjacent organic and non-organic sites on a 725-acre farm attached to Newcastle University, and at other sites in Europe. They say that just by choosing to eat organic foods over conventional a person can increase the overall nutrient intake 20% or more.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency, which has formerly said that there is no difference between organic and conventional foods, is reviewing the research findings. Professor Carlo Leifert, the coordinator of the European Union-funded project, said the differences were so marked that organic produce would help to increase the nutrient intake of even those people who ate organic but didn’t eat the recommended five portions a day of fruit and vegetables.

Source: Times Online October 28, 2007

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