Organic Fruits Erlanger KY
Overland Park, KY
Highland Heights, KY
Organic Gets Even Better
It’s not hard to sell people on the advantages of organic fruits and vegetables. They’re chemical-free, of course, and they usually taste much better than their conventionally grown counterparts. But over the years, even the staunchest organic proponents have had to concede there was little proof that food grown without pesticides contained higher levels of health-promoting nutrients. Not anymore.
A striking new study at the University of California, Davis has found that organically grown berries and corn carry significantly higher levels of phenolic compounds, antioxidants thought to reduce the risk of illnesses like cancer and heart disease. The organic corn and marionberries had 50 percent more phenols than conventionally grown versions; the strawberries, 19 percent.Why the big difference? The theory, says Alyson Mitchell, an assistant professor of food chemistry and toxicology who led the study, is that since phenols are generated in reaction to an attack by bugs or an infestation of fungus, plants not defended by pesticides will tend to produce more of them.
“Phenols are energy expensive,” Mitchell says. “The plant isn’t going to expend the effort to produce those molecules if it doesn’t have to.” So is it safe to assume that all organic produce is similarly endowed? Mitchell thinks so, since the corn and berries that were tested had phenolic levels similar to those of wild plants. “We don’t know for sure,” Mitchell says, “but it makes sense that other plants farmed without chemicals would hew to this natural state, too.”
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