It Must Be a Blue Moon
At long last, some evidence that at least one type of organic food is healthier than its conventional equivalent has surfaced. According to at least one study organically-grown tomatoes have more antioxidants (seen via FuturePundit):
According to the new findings, levels of the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol were found to be on average 79 and 97 per cent higher, respectively, in organic tomatoes. Flavonoids such as these are known antioxidants and have been linked to reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, some forms of cancer and dementia, says Alyson Mitchell, a food chemist who led the research at the University of California, Davis.On the other hand, this might be merely a matter of adjusting fertilizer composition for the allegedly-conventional tomatoes.
Mitchell's team say the finding can be explained by the availability of nitrogen. Flavonoids are produced as a defence mechanism that can be triggered by nutrient deficiency. The inorganic nitrogen in conventional fertiliser is easily available to plants and so, the team suggests, the lower levels of flavonoids are probably caused by overfertilisation.On the gripping hand, a well-known vegetable (according to the Reagan administration) is even healthier.
This latest study does not prove that a healthy diet must be organic. The evidence of health benefits for flavonoids is conflicting, says Peter Bramley at Royal Holloway, University of London. And even if such benefits exist, higher flavonoid levels do not necessarily make organic food healthier, says John Krebs, former chair of the FSA and now at the University of Oxford. "This depends on the relevance of the differences to the human body," he says. "Tomato ketchup has higher levels of lycopene than either organic or conventional tomatoes. So if you wanted lots of lycopene you should eat ketchup."(Addendum: ON the other hand …)
Meanwhile, in a related story…
Let's see … The organic foods movement is several decades old. Is this the best they can do?