Kyle Heffner, Brinson Wellness Coach

A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition appears to be a definitive analysis of 343 peer-reviewed publications which revealed that organic crops have significantly higher nutrient content but have lower pesticide residues than conventionally-grown crops. Various organically-grown fruits, vegetables and grains were compared to their conventional counterparts in terms of nutrient content as well as tested for pesticide contaminants. Results were carefully compiled and analyzed revealing a mean percentage difference for the available antioxidant compounds in the food ranged from 18 to 69% higher in the organic foods when compared to their conventional counterparts. The study included a review of a wide range of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, carotenoids & others, which are known to have a role in preventing oxidation or oxidative stress associated with cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and aging in humans.

Cadmium, a toxic metal contaminant, was found at 48% lower concentrations in the organic foods compared to the conventional foods. These differences are possibly due to the types of fertilizers used on conventional crops as well as differences in the soil due crop rotation and farming methodologies. Chemical pesticides were detected in the conventional crops at substantially higher levels in the conventional foods. The frequency of occurrence of detectable residues in conventional vegetables and fruits are 32% and 75% higher, respectively, when compared to organic produce. Although, some suggest that the levels of residues are at “government approved or acceptable” levels, the most concerning point is that these contaminants are cumulative in the human body and can have serious long-term health implications.

Look for organic produce at the local farmers market or at the grocery store. The price look up code (PLU) sticker placed on organic produce is a 5 digit number that begins with “9”. Whether you grow your own produce or find it in the market place, it appears to be the better choice for a healthier you!