In 2007, the researchers of a four year European Union-funded project found that organic fruits and vegetables contained 20 to 40% more antioxidants than conventionally grown produce.
The organic produce had higher levels of Vitamin c, iron, and zinc. The researchers grew fruits and vegetables and reared cattle on adjacent organic and non-organic sites in Europe. The analysis of the data revealed that in sunmer, organic milk had 60 to 80% more nutrients and in winter, 50 to 60% more nutrients than non-organic milk. The organic milk had higher levels of Vitamin E. The organic tomatoes, wheat, potatoes, cabbage, and onions had 20 to 40% more antioxidants than non-organic produce. The organic spinach and cabbage had higher levels of iron, copper, and zinc. "If you have just 20% more antioxidants in every portion of vegetables, then it"s simply a question of math - eating four portions of organic fruit and vegetables is the equivalent of eating five portions of traditional fruits and vegetables", said Carlo Leifert, coordinator of the study. (1)
In a recent issue of Journal Watch, Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D., reviewed a project which was conducted by a team from the London School of Hygiene. The researchers looked at 55 studies which addressed the nutritional content of organic versus non-organic foods. The data showed only three small, but significant differences among all eleven different types of evaluated nutrient content. Conventionally grown crops had higher levels of nitrogen. Organically grown crops had high levels of phosphorous and acidity. (2)
Recently, Denis Lairon of the University of Aix-Maeseille published an article in the journal, Agronomy for Sustainable Development. He concluded that 94 to 100% of organic food does not contain any pesticide residue and has 50% less nitrates than conventionally grown foods. In the article, Nutritional Quality and Safety of Organic Food. A Review, Lairon reports that organic animal products had more polyunsaturated fats. (3) Polyunsaturated fats, when consumed in moderation, can help reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood and lower the risk of heart disease.