Is organic food more nutritious than Conventionally farmed food?
It is widely believed that conventionally farmed food is less nutritious than those organically cultivated. How much of that belief is based on facts and scientific studies? Not a lot actually. The fact remains that there is little research done on this area. Few studies that do exist show that there is no significant difference in the nutritional values of the produce, organic or conventional. Other studies , for instance , one done on tomatoes indicate that the vitamin C content in organic tomatoes were 40% higher than those cultivated conventionally.
But is it just nutritional values that we look for when it comes to food? Organically cultivated food , often termed, naturally cultivated is scientifically known to have more antioxidant properties than conventionally farmed food. This is universal across almost all produce. There is also the factor of safety and use of harmful chemicals in conventional foods which is non existent in organic food.
Its important to take a quick look at what are the benefits of organic foods when compared to conventional food before you make a shift to organic food. Undoubtedly, organic food is healthier, but its important to know why its healthier before you make the shift
Nutritional Values : As far as nutritional values go, there is no research which indicates a major difference in nutritional values of produces cultivated organically or conventionally. If it does exist, there may be small differences. There is also a lack of research in this area. For the few researches done, Organically produced heirloom crops are known to have almost the same nutritional values through out in most crops. Some crops like tomatoes do indicate a higher level of certain nutritional values.
What most of the research do agree upon is the antioxidant properties of organic food is much higher than those conventionally cultivated. A higher percentage, up to 40% more antioxidants were noted in organically produced food as compared to those conventionally farmed. This alone is a good reason to shift to organic produce , but wait till you read further
Harmful chemicals : Most of the time, we do not worry about harmful chemicals in the food we eat. May it be eggs, chicken, beef, vegetables or fruits, we have no way of knowing where the food came from, how it was processed and what chemicals were used during the entire process. While it may not seem important, the use of pesticides usually remain in traces in all vegetables and fruits. Poultry and meat farmed from open grazed farms have a distinct difference in nutritional values too. While in traces, consumed over a longer period of time, the chemicals will be present in your body. These trace chemicals over a period of time, cause a range of problems from poor immunity to cancer.
Taste : Food should taste good. It should have the smell and taste which is natural. Lack of good smell or taste is not negotiable. We all agree that food is rated by taste and smell. The better the vegetables taste and smell, the more inclined we are to purchase them. Fruits are intended to be fragrant and juicy. If it does not have these properties, you are consuming food just to ensure that its filling your body requirements. If you have tasted organically produced food, you would be able to compare the taste to that which was traditionally cultivated. If you have always consumed conventionally farmed food, you may be at awe when you taste the same vegetable or fruit, organically produced. The taste and smell is distinctive and different. It is indeed several notches higher.
Variety : There is also the question of Quality and variety. Heirloom tomatoes are known to be tangy sweet, fleshy and juicy. Conventionally farmed tomatoes usually come from hybrid seeds. These tomatoes are engineered for higher yield, resist pest and disease. While it may be a good thing to produce a lot of tomatoes with conventional farming and hybrid seeds, there is a distinctive difference in taste and quality when compared to organically produced heirloom seeds. Now there is a distinctive difference in nutritional values too. Heirloom seeds are different to hybrids in almost all areas. You will see higher acidity in tomatoes cultivated organically with heirloom seeds.
So, Should you consume organic ? Are there any benefits to consuming organic food? Is there any significant difference in nutritional values of the food cultivated organically? Most of the time the answer is Yes. The nutritional values though not distinctive cultivated organically or otherwise, may vary significantly when compared to heirloom varieties and hybrid. While consuming organic food may be a good option, Choosing heirloom varieties , organically produced will be a lot better than just consuming any organic food.