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February 21, 2013 by MARCO TORRES
Organic Vegetables Are More Nutritious Due To An Environment That Forces Survival

Laziness makes people more lethargic, decreases their ability to metabolize nutrients and leads to a general state of unhealthiness. The same applies to the plant world. When we raise crops on conventional farms riddled with pesticides and shelter them from what we consider to be harmful elements, their nutritional content decreases and we end up with an inferior plant kingdom that can no longer support itself. According to research in the open access journal PLOS ONE, greater plant stress on organic farms causes tomatoes to accumulate higher concentrations of vitamin C and lycopene compared to those grown on conventional farms.

Oxidative stress is crucial for life. Mainstream science may have us believing otherwise, but oxidation reactions are extremely important to balance plants and animals and maintain complex complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such as glutathione, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E as well as important enzymes. When we attempt to reduce oxidative stress through artifical means, we immediately decrease vital nutrients in organisms. Nature is built to fight for survival.

Some studies sponsored by the biotech industry even suggest that removing artificial chemicals from the food supply will not deliver healthier or more tasty produce and using modern, artificial, chemical infested methods may be better for us. It's junk science at its best.

Bigger Isn't Better

In their study, the researchers from the Federal University of Ceara, Brazil, compared the weights and biochemical properties of tomatoes from organic and conventional farms. They found that tomatoes grown on organic farms were smaller than those grown by conventional techniques, but they also accumulated more compounds linked to resistance of the elements.

According to the authors, organic farming exposes plants to greater stress than conventional farming and that stress may be the reason organic tomatoes have higher levels of vitamin C and pigment molecules like lycopene, an anti-oxidant compound and important phytochemical associated with a reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. The increases in these anti-oxidants are associated with the biological response to stress.

More Nutrition in Organic Produce

Tomatoes grown by organic methods contain more phenolic compounds than those grown using commercial standards, say researchers. The previous published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry -- analysed the phenolic profiles of Daniela tomatoes grown either using 'conventional' or organic methods, finding that those grown under organic conditions contained significantly higher levels of phenolic compounds than those grown conventionally.

"The nutrient composition of plants, including secondary plant metabolites, may be affected by different production systems, such as organic and conventional," noted the researchers, led by senior author Rosa Lamuela from the University of Barcelona.

"Organic farming doesn't use nitrogenous fertilizers; as a result, plants respond by activating their own defence mechanisms, increasing the levels of all antioxidants," explained study lead Anna Vallverd Queralt.

The fundamental differences between organic and conventional agricultural systems are in fertilization strategy and soil fertility management, which in theory affect the nutrient composition in plants and provide healthier better tasting produce.

Organically produced apples have a higher antioxidant capacity than conventionally produced apples, says a study from Germany. The report published in the Organic Center at America’s Organic Trade Association argued that organic produce is 25 per cent more nutritious than conventional foodstuffs.

Higher antioxidant levels, lower pesticide loads, lack of genetically modified seeds, and overall better farming practices are indeed a convincing difference between organic and conventional foods in both nutrient content and health benefits.

Based on these observations, the authors suggest that growing strategies for fruits and vegetables should aim to balance plant stress with efforts to maximize yield and fruit size, rather than trying to eliminate stress to increase yields.

Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.

Reference Sources 128, 184
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