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Organic Foods Contain More Antioxidants, Fewer Pesticides — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 14, 2014

Organic Foods Contain More Antioxidants, Fewer Pesticides

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and André Sofair, MD, MPH

Organically grown crops contain more antioxidants and fewer pesticides than nonorganic foods, according to a meta-analysis of over 340 studies in the British Journal of Nutrition. The findings run counter to previous research suggesting few differences between organic and conventional foods.

Among the findings:

  • The concentrations of many antioxidants were significantly higher in organic than nonorganic crops. For example, flavanone concentrations were 69% higher and anthocyanin concentrations were 51% higher in organic foods.

  • Pesticide residues were found more often in nonorganic crops, although they were still within safe ranges.

  • The toxic metal cadmium occurred at significantly higher concentrations in nonorganic foods.

The lead author emphasized caution in interpreting the findings: "We are not making health claims based on this study, because we can't," he told the New York Times. He added that the study is insufficient "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."

Reader Comments (1)

John O'Brien Other Healthcare Professional, Family Medicine/General Practice, Littlerock Family Medicine

Two other IMHO highly significant facts about the study: the sole US coauthor, Benbrook is from WSU here in Washington state, and he observed that the difference in antioxidant levels is equivalent to getting the benefit of an extra 2 servings per of antioxidants from an organic diet vs. conventionally grown i.e/ petrochemical derived, without the calories.

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