The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Organic foods antioxidant richer  (Read 4383 times)

Offline NakedScientist

  • Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 355
    • View Profile
    • http://www.thenakedscientists.com
Organic foods antioxidant richer
« on: 06/03/2003 19:04:21 »
Organically grown foods are higher in cancer-fighting chemicals than conventionally grown foods, according to University of California researchers :

Fruits and veggies grown organically show significantly higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventionally grown foods, according to a new study of corn, strawberries and marionberries. The research suggests that pesticides and herbicides actually thwart the production of phenolics -- chemicals that act as a plant's natural defense and also happen to be good for our health. Fertilizers, however, seem to boost the levels of anti-cancer compounds.

The findings appear in the Feb. 26 print edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The article was initially published Jan. 25 on the journal's Web site.

Flavonoids are phenolic compounds that have potent antioxidant activity. Many are produced in plants in response to environmental stressors, such as insects or competing plants.

"If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," says Alyson Mitchell, Ph.D., a food scientist at the University of California, Davis, and lead author of the paper. "Bitter or harsh phenolics guard the plant against these pests."

The need for these natural safeguards decreases with the use of herbicides and pesticides in conventional agriculture. This decrease is reflected in the total amount of antioxidants the plants produce. "This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently."

Mitchell measured antioxidants found in corn, strawberries and a type of blackberry called a marionberry. "We started with these three due to plant availability," Mitchell explains, "but we intend to widen our search to include tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and a variety of other vegetables. We expect these results to be transferable to most produce."

The investigation compared the total antioxidants found in foods grown organically (using no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers) to foods grown sustainably (in this study fertilizers but no herbicides or pesticides were used) and conventionally (using synthetic chemicals to protect the plants and increase yield).

The results showed a significant increase in antioxidants in organic and sustainably grown foods versus conventionally grown foods. The levels of antioxidants in sustainably grown corn were 58.5 percent higher than conventionally grown corn. Organically and sustainably grown marionberries had approximately 50 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown berries. Sustainably and organically grown strawberries showed about 19 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown strawberries.

Antioxidant levels were highest overall in sustainably grown produce, which indicates that a combination of organic and conventional practices yields the highest levels of antioxidants. "This may reflect the balance between adequate nutrition in the form of fertilizers and external pest pressures because of the lack of pesticides and herbicides," Mitchell explains.

"Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me," says Mitchell, whose research grew naturally from a personal interest in organic foods. "I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
« Last Edit: 31/05/2004 05:27:30 by NakedScientist »


 

Offline Exodus

  • Phileas Fogg
  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1471
  • Geology
    • View Profile
Re: Organic foods antioxidant richer
« Reply #1 on: 11/03/2003 23:48:49 »
sorry, i'm a student and can't afford these organic products... anything i can do to get a greater number of anti oxidants into my diet?

Thats Economics...
 

Offline Quantumcat

  • The Kitty Down Under
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 894
    • View Profile
Re: Organic foods antioxidant richer
« Reply #2 on: 12/03/2003 09:09:42 »
Well ... I assume there are nutrient pills/tablets on the market for antioxidants? (?)
 

Offline Donnah

  • Ma-Donnah
  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1756
    • View Profile
Re: Organic foods antioxidant richer
« Reply #3 on: 06/04/2003 03:15:07 »
Experience has convinced me that organic food is superior to both sustainably and conventionally grown food.  If cost is an issue, you could look for a garden like mine.  A farmer outside the city rents organic garden plots 25 feet X 26 feet each.  He irrigates twice a week and some 200 gardeners each plant, weed, and harvest whatever they like to grow.  I've seen a marked improvement in health and my son (a fencer) has noticed that he is stronger and more energetic.  Another benefit is taste.  The garden food is unbelievably delicious while grocery store produce (and some restaraunt food) tastes like sawdust in comparison.
 

Offline chris

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5339
  • Thanked: 65 times
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
Re: Organic foods antioxidant richer
« Reply #4 on: 06/04/2003 09:11:07 »
Donnah

I think there is always a danger of bias creeping into the equation in situations like this:

When you have gone to the effort of renting a plot of land and nurturing your own vegetables you are more likely to
a) eat more of them in the first place
b) report them as 'tastier', because that is your expectation,
c) report that you 'feel better' - because in producing your vegetables you have taken exercise to dig, weed and tend the veggie patch, you have been outdoors exposing yourself to sunlight and fresh air, which are re-vitalising, and you may well have met other people whilst at it, which also has proven health-benefits.

For this to be a completely fair trial you and your son would needed to be 'blinded'. A third party would need to be brought in to feed you both either organic vegetables, or mass-produced intensively-grown fertiliser and insecticide-laden vegetables, in a random order. You would then judge how you felt, without knowing what you had eaten, and only after that would it be revealed to you what you had been eating. This is the only way to eliminate bias.

I have to say, though, that many people agree with your sentiments about shop vegetables, myself included, - tomatoes at our local shop just taste like water. Not a patch on the juicy, sweet succulent ones you can grow at home !

Happy Eating

Chris
 

Offline Donnah

  • Ma-Donnah
  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1756
    • View Profile
Re: Organic foods antioxidant richer
« Reply #5 on: 07/04/2003 23:14:21 »
You're quite right about the additional variables and I agree that a double blind study (anyone know of such a study being done?) has credibility that's lacking in a testimonial.  But while we research this, Exodus could grow a garden that would save a stack of money, eat more veggies to obtain the desired anti oxidants, enjoy the taste, and feel better due to the exercise, outdoor exposure, and meeting new people (not to mention taking a break from studying):D.
 

Offline bystander

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 11
    • View Profile
Re: Organic foods antioxidant richer
« Reply #6 on: 22/04/2005 16:56:54 »
I guess I am a third party... As a tomato lover: I noticed a big difference in the quality and taste(poisons) of fresh vine ripened tomatoes  and I taste a big difference in some genetically altered junk.
Some of the other foods I can taste small differences, but I do think when you are brought up in America on fast convient food, you don't notice it till you try good food... and you do notice if you were.[xx(]
I would buy fast good food (which Americans are starting to demand),but that is the whole point... isn't it .... that you can't get it... unless you pay ... and who can afford Organic prices.
You can impose like a hippie friend of mine does by asking a friend( who doesn't use toxic chemicals...) to plant an extra plant in their garden for her...I am assuming she reimberses with a barter system or money...(Who can find a friend like that anyway!???)
Personally I don't have knowledge,time, or green thumbs!(really I'm just lazy!)
Has anyone started an Organic Drive Thru Chain?????[?]
« Last Edit: 22/04/2005 17:15:53 by bystander »
 

Offline moses lawn

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Re: Organic foods antioxidant richer
« Reply #7 on: 06/05/2005 07:06:18 »
Surely the important question is not merely what is the best source of antioxidants, but whether the tissue levels of active antioxidant produced by any of them are sufficient to make any clinical difference.

Without large, controlled clinical studies, it is purely academic as to whether to take natural or synthetic antioxidants.

Anyone know whether any such data has been published?



"You play ball with me, and I'll scratch yours"
« Last Edit: 06/05/2005 07:08:07 by moses lawn »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Organic foods antioxidant richer
« Reply #7 on: 06/05/2005 07:06:18 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums