Marissa Lippert, M.S., R.D. en Organic—or Not? Is Organic Produce Healthier Than Conventional? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-standard"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_standard" width="310" height="310" alt="" src="" /> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_standard" width="310" height="310" alt="" src="" /> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_standard" width="310" height="310" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-question"> <div class="field-label">Question:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Organic—or Not? Is organic produce healthier than conventional?</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-answer"> <div class="field-label">Answer:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>There are at least two good arguments for eating organic: fewer pesticides and <a href="">more nutrients</a>. Let’s start with pesticides. Pesticides can be absorbed into fruits and vegetables, and leave trace residues. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, pored over the results of nearly 51,000 USDA and FDA tests for pesticides on 44 popular produce items and identified the types of fruits and vegetables that were most likely to have higher trace amounts. Most people have no problems eating conventionally grown produce but if you feel strongly about pesticide residues, the EWG’s list below should help you shop.</p> <p>As for nutrients, in 2007 a study out of Newcastle University in the United Kingdom reported that organic produce boasted up to 40 percent higher levels of some nutrients (including vitamin C, zinc and iron) than its conventional counterparts. Additionally, a 2003 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that organically grown berries and corn contained 58 percent more polyphenols—antioxidants that help prevent cardiovascular disease—and up to 52 percent higher levels of vitamin C than those conventionally grown. Recent research by that study’s lead author, Alyson Mitchell, Ph.D., an associate professor of food science and technology at the University of California, Davis, pinpoints a potential mechanism to explain why organic techniques may sometimes yield superior produce.</p> <p>It’s a difference in soil fertility, says Mitchell: “With organic methods, the nitrogen present in composted soil is released slowly and therefore plants grow at a normal rate, with their nutrients in balance. Vegetables fertilized with conventional fertilizers grow very rapidly and allocate less energy to develop nutrients.” Buying conventional produce from local farmers also has benefits. Nutrient values in produce peak at prime ripeness, just after harvest. As a general rule, the less produce has to travel, the fresher and more nutrient-rich it remains. </p> <p>A 2008 review by the Organic Center of almost 100 studies on the nutritional quality of organic produce compared the effects conventional and organic farming methods have on specific nutrients. The report’s conclusion: “Yes, organic plant-based foods are, on average, more nutritious.” </p> <p><strong>Bottom line:</strong> “Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables in general is the point,” says Mitchell. If buying all organic isn’t a priority—or a financial reality for you—you might opt to buy organic specifically when you’re selecting foods that are most heavily contaminated with pesticide and insecticide residues. See next page for a handy chart for common fruits and vegetables.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:text-top"> <h3>Preferably Organic<br /> &mdash;Most Commonly Contaminated*</h3> </td> <td style="vertical-align:text-top"> <h3>If Budget Allows, Buy Organic</h3> </td> <td style="vertical-align:text-top"> <h3>It&rsquo;s Your Call<br /> &mdash;Least Commonly Contaminated</h3> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:text-top"> <ul> <li>Apples</li> <li>Celery</li> <li>Strawberries</li> <li>Peaches</li> <li>Spinach</li> <li>Nectarines</li> <li>Grapes</li> <li>Sweet Bell Peppers</li> <li>Potatoes</li> <li>Blueberries</li> <li>Lettuce</li> <li>Kale/Collard Greens</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:text-top"> <ul> <li>Green Beans</li> <li>Summer Squash</li> <li>Peppers</li> <li>Cucumbers</li> <li>Raspberries<br /> </li> <li>Grapes - Domestic</li> <li>Plums<br /> </li> <li>Oranges</li> <li>Cauliflower</li> <li>Tangerines</li> <li>Bananas</li> <li>Winter Squash</li> <li>Cranberries</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:text-top"> <ul> <li>Onions</li> <li>Sweet Corn</li> <li>Pineapples</li> <li>Avocado</li> <li>Asparagus</li> <li>Sweet Peas</li> <li>Mangoes</li> <li>Eggplant</li> <li>Cantaloupe</li> <li>Kiwi</li> <li>Cabbage</li> <li>Watermelon</li> <li>Sweet Potato</li> <li>Grapefruit</li> <li>Mushrooms</li> </ul> </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3"><p><em>*Listed in order of pesticide load<br /> </em><em>Source: Environmental Working Group. Go to for updates. Updated June 2011.</em></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-related-group-1"><legend>Related Content Group 1</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-relatedtitle1"> <div class="field-label">Related Content Title 1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Related Articles </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-relatedlinks1"> <div class="field-label">Related Links 1:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/food_news_origins/organic_natural/dirty_dozen_plus_14_foods_you_should_buy_organic">The Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods You Should Buy Organic</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/food_news_origins/organic_natural/15_foods_you_dont_need_to_buy_organic">15 Foods You Don&#039;t Need to Buy Organic</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/healthy_cooking/healthy_cooking_101/kitchen_tips_techniques/how_to_cook_20_vegetables">How to Cook 20 Vegetables</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/what_is_a_serving_size_of_fruit">What is a Serving Size of Fruit?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-related-group-2"><legend>Related Content Group 2</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-relatedtitle2"> <div class="field-label">Related Content Title 2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Related Recipes </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-relatedlinks2"> <div class="field-label">Related Links 2:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/low_calorie_dinners_packed_with_produce">Low-Calorie Dinners Packed with Produce </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/our_best_healthy_summer_recipes">Our Best Healthy Summer Recipes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/recipes_fresh_from_the_farmers_market">Recipes Fresh from the Farmers’ Market</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/food_news_origins/seasonal_local/fresh_recipes_from_eatingwells_garden">Fresh Recipes from EatingWell’s Garden</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Marissa Lippert, M.S., R.D. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-content-taxonomy field-field-publication"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> EatingWell In Season: The Farmers&#039; Market Cookbook (2009) </div> </div> </div> Marissa Lippert, M.S., R.D. EatingWell In Season: The Farmers' Market Cookbook (2009) Food News & Origins - Green & Sustainable Tue, 11 Aug 2009 22:16:09 +0000 Paula Joslin 9416 at