Organic is Wholeheartedly Better
19 Mar 2008
New research has discovered that organic fruit and vegetables are better for the heart and general health than conventionally grown crops.
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New research has discovered that organic fruit and vegetables are better for the heart and general health than conventionally grown crops. A ten-year study on organic tomatoes found that they contained almost double the quantity of flavonoids’ ñ antioxidants known to prevent high blood pressure, reduce heart disease and stave off some types of cancer. The findings have been published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry.
Higher levels of flavonoids are due to the absence of fertilisers in organic farming. This is because plants produce them as a coping strategy when suffering from nutrient deficiency. ‘Spraying a crop with chemicals to protect it means the plant does not need to activate its own self-defence mechanisms. The chemicals which would natural-ly be present and from which human health actually benefits, are not there,’ explains Peter Melchett from the Soil Association.
EU-funded research into the mineral depletion of food, found that over 51 years, there has been an average loss in Sodium by 49 per cent, Potassium by 16 per cent, Magnesium by 24 per cent, Calcium by 46 per cent, Iron by 27 per cent and Copper by a staggering 76 per cent. This means a person would have had to eat 10 tomatoes in 1991 to get the same level of copper they would have got from one tomato in 1940. ‘Minerals play a huge role in human physiology to help maintain homeostasis. The significant loss of these essential minerals highlights the difficulties in achieving a fully adequate diet with the currently available foods,’ warns the report.
In another recent study, The Soil Association found that animals also fared better on organic produce. Rabbits had twice the level of fertility and chickens had a 28 per cent higher rate of egg production. The report proved that wildlife is richer and more varied on organic farms, with five times as many wild plants, 88 per cent more squiggly soil creatures’, 44 per cent more birds and twice as many butterflies.
Recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency published their findings that organic foods gave children immediate protection from exposure to two pesticides. Linked to harmful neurological effects in humans and officially banned, these pesticides are still widely used and residues of the toxins are routinely detected in food items commonly consumed.
‘…By shifting to organic food,’ says Guy Dauncey, author of Earthfuture, ‘we can be healthier. Our farmers and farm workers can be healthier. Frogs, worms, butterflies, skylarks and the soil itself can be healthier. All that it takes is to turn away from chemically grown food and embrace organic food.’
Photo: © Soil Association
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