Landmark new research has surfaced in July, proving once and for all, that organic fruit and veg contain a higher level of cancer-fighting antioxides than conventional fresh produce. This conclusion was made as a result of the largest scientific study ever conducted and was the product of years of painstaking analysis.
The team behind this research is from Newcastle University, led by professor Carlo Leifert. They analysed 343 separate peer-review studies conducted from around the world looking at the composition of organic and conventional crops. The international team of scientists reviewed the available literature comparing the chemical content of foods - primarily cereals, vegetables and fruit - and crop-based products, such as seed oils, wine and baby food. The analysis found that the differences between organic and non-organic varieties, which the team concluded, were "significant and meaningful".
Most people are now dabbling in buying organic food as 81% of families buy organic at least some of the time, according to a 2013 survey by the Organic Trade Association. Its findings will be welcomed by organic farmers, whose claims that their food is more nutritious have previously been rubbished by the government watchdog, the Food Standards Agency.
In 2012, a widely publicized Stanford University Study analyzing more than 200 research papers comparing the benefits of eating organic versus conventionally grown food found that organic food isn't any healthier. Dr. Benbrook countered however, with his own findings that there's a full 94% reduction in health risks if you eat organic rather than conventional foods. The problem with the Stanford study, as many critics noted, was that they defined healthy as ‘has more nutrients.’ While it's true that organic foods often contain slightly higher levels of antioxidants and vitamin C, most consumers prefer them for what they don't contain.
Lead author Prof Carlo Leifert of Newcastle University said: "This study demonstrates that choosing food produce according to organic standards can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals". However, the study noted, "it is important to point out that there is still a lack of knowledge about the potential human health impacts of increasing antioxidant intake levels and switching to organic food consumption."
The peer-review study was funded by the European Union was published in the Feb. 26 print edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.