A Moment of Science

Are Organic Veggies Heathier?

Organic food lover? Are organic vegetables healthier for you?

organic kumquats

Photo: Min Lee (flickr)

Organic food tends to be more expensive... is it worth it?

Organic food, especially vegetables are widely available in grocery stores. Organic food has claimed to be healthier yet expensive compared to normal vegetables. So is it worth it to pay more for the supposed health benefits?

Healthier Option?

Well, it might be worth it if organically grown vegetables are in fact better for you than vegetables grown using fertilizers and pesticides. But, at least according to one study, organic veggies are no more healthful than vegetables grown in conventional ways.

Specifically, the study found that organic and non-organic vegetables have roughly the same amount of polyphenols–an antioxidant with supposed health benefits. There’s some evidence that polyphenols reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Higher In Polyphenols

But when it comes to the organically and conventionally grown onions, carrots, and potatoes looked at in the study, there’s no evidence that the organic versions were higher in polyphenols.

Organic Benefits

Now, keep in mind that there may be other reasons to buy organic vegetables.

Some people prefer the taste. And because pesticides and fertilizers can pollute rivers and contribute to dead zones in oceans, using less of these chemicals is good for the environment.

Also, although there’s little evidence that consuming trace amounts of pesticides sprayed on regular vegetables harms people, it certainly doesn’t hurt that in eating organic veggies you’re not consuming any pesticides at all.

Pay More, Get More?

So if health is your main concern, it’s certainly smart to eat plenty of vegetables. But paying more for organics doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a more healthful option.

Read More:

  • Antioxidant Levels Not Higher in Organic Vegetables (WebMD)
  • http://twitter.com/HelloKell_O Kelly Ouellette

    duh! This isn't breaking news, it's common sense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/benjamin.schmidt3 Benjamin Schmidt

    Better check your facts:
    -Organic vegetables do have pesticides, just different ones
    - Taste test surveys have never yielded results proving a better taste, only anecdotal evidence from people who were biased and knew they were eating organic food
    You also missed:
    -Their pesticides and fertilizers are weaker, therefore requiring more of them which means an increase in energy usage
    - Many traditional farms also have organic sections in them and the blow over of traditional farming chemicals is common
    - Organic vegetables also have a lower yield, therefore they take up more to space to produce the same amount of food

  • leahcimevargsum

    Unbelievable! Of course there are studies that show whatever you want to show. I'll just go ahead and say that organic vegetables taste better, and are more nutritious (Medical News Today, http://www.medicalnewstoday.co…) Please notice “A Moment of Science” staffers that I sited my source like any good research “scientist” would, especially those who wants to sway their audience. And why do they taste better? Perhaps it is because typically an organic piece of produce has traveled a shorter distance from farm to table and has therefore had less time to decompose, oxidize or otherwise degrade in nutritional content. Go figure, my body sends me a signal that the fertilized, pesticide sprayed, trucked 3000 miles, gassed and waxed tomato that I bought in my Indy supermarket in this second week of February tastes “bad,” like mealy styrofoam injected with tomato flavoring. It's not nearly as good as the tomato that I pick from my own organic garden in August. Gee, I wonder what the difference could be? Perhaps our palates actually prefer fresher, healthier, more nutritious foods for a reason. Furthermore I am incredulous that a “scientist” would state that “there’s little evidence that consuming trace amounts of pesticides sprayed on regular vegetables harms people” when in fact most pesticides, and even some fertilizers have been labeled by more credible members of the scientific community as carcinogenic (this is a scientific term that means: causes cancer in humans). So you are suggesting that I just help myself to trace amounts of known carcinogens (when I have a choice to do otherwise) on a daily basis and pretend to be surprised when I get sick, have low energy, or get cancer a few decades down the road? Finally, how could you downplay the impact of “conventional” or “commercial” farming methods on the health of our environment. To your credit you mentioned that polluted waterways contribute to “dead zones” in oceans, which is something all intelligent consumers will undoubtedly agree are a good thing. But your conclusion is that paying more money for foods that are produced in a manner that has a reduced impact on our global environment, better taste, and an improved nutritional content, “doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a more healthful option” would have gotten you fired, Mr. Jeremy Shere, from any credible publication. Oh, and when you raise the “most americans just cannot afford the sharp increase in cost to buy all organic foods for their families” argument, I simply respond with the more than obvious conclusion that paying more money for more nutritious food is with out a doubt a healthier option for the most overweight nation on the planet which is currently struggling to find ways to fund a health care system that is focused on medical and surgical “cures” and “healing” rather than “prevention.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306959901 Scott Phillips
  • leahcimevargsum

    So if everyone stopped using pesticides and fertilizers, I can take from your suggestions that there would be fewer carcinogens on ALL of our food, we would need more space in which to work harder to grow our healthier food in a sustainable way, and there would be less space to grow corn (used to fatten cattle that were designed to eat grass, and make ethanol and high fructose corn syrup which undeniably are a blessing to us all). That sounds like a world where obesity would be a recipe for failure as a human being, and hard work would be rewarded with a healthier body, more nutritious food, and a healthier environment. Benjamin, have you grown a vegetable lately? How much better did it taste? Did you bathe it regularly in harsh chemistry and expect it to be “better” for you? Hmm, food for thought.

  • leahcimevargsum

    hello?

  • leahcimevargsum

    how can it be common sense to eat pesticides and promote the pollution of our waterways?

  • leahcimevargsum

    remove pesticides and fertilizers from the equation completely…due to the negative effects on our environment. What do you promote now?

  • leahcimevargsum

    I think based on the huge volume of published scientific evidence that contradicts the basic premise and conclusion of this article that we should officially rename this particular article “A Moment of Opinion.”

  • leahcimevargsum

    Eat a fertilized, sprayed, waxed, trucked 3000 miles from somewhere warm, gassed along the way, tomato that I can purchase in Indiana in February. Then eat a tomato that you grew in your organic garden, picked and ate the same hour, or even canned yourself last August and ate tonight. Which one do you think tastes better.

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