Are organic foods better for you?
A growing body of evidence is leading many researchers to the conclusion that foods produced organically are proving to be better for you.
Organic foods are generally grown using a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions.
The use of synthetic insecticides, fertilisers or use of antibiotics or growth hormones, irradiation and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not allowed.
While research is still in early stages, the following outlines what researchers have determined about the benefits of eating Certified Organic food:
- The 2019 Thünen Institute Published Study on the Value of Organic Farming that analysed and evaluated 528 studies and resulted in 2,816 comparative pairs, found that across water protection, soil fertility, biodiversity, climate protection, climate adaptation and resource efficiency, organic management was shown to be more advantageous than conventional management. In the area of animal welfare as determined by management practices no significant differences were found.
- People are also becoming more aware of the potential health benefits of organic food. While further research is required to determine the underlying factors involved, a 2018 French study involving nearly 69,000 participants who reported on their dietary intake, concluded that a higher intake of organic food was associated with a reduced risk of cancer of the breast, skin, prostrate, lymph and colon. Other studies have found that organic foods are much higher in many compounds that in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including CVD and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers.
- A 2014 meta-analyses of 343 peer-reviewed publications found that concentrations of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were between 28% and 85% higher in organic crops and crop-based foods. The study also found that the frequency of pesticide residues was four times higher in conventional crops, and contained significantly higher concentrations of the toxic metal Cd, than organic foods.
- Researchers at Stanford University found that while there was no difference in the prevalence of bacteria on organic food or conventional food, the risk of bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics was 33% higher in conventional than in organic chicken and pork.
- Published in 2016 by the Nature Research Journal, researchers concluded that organic farming delivers equally or more nutritious foods that contain less or no pesticide residues and provide greater social benefits than their conventional counterparts. The supporting illustration represents different sustainability metrics that compare organic farming with conventional farming. It indicates that organic farming systems can more effectively balance the four areas of sustainability: production, environment, economic and social wellbeing, than conventional farming systems.