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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Organic produce 'no better for health'

8th November 2010

A recent study has concluded that organic vegetables, usually much more expensive than non-organically grown produce, are no better for you than any other vegetables.


Potatoes, carrots and onions grown by Danish agricultural scientists under both organic and traditional conditions were then tested for compounds known to help the body fight disease.

But there was little difference between the two in the concentration of polyphenols, the researchers, who cultivated 72 plots of land over a two-year period, found.

Polyphenols are found many different vegetables, and play a part in helping the body fight cancer, heart disease and dementia.

On the contrary, organic and ordinary produce was found to have similar levels of cancer-fighting chemicals.

Consumers often believe that organic vegetables are healthier, although they also say they taste better and are more likely to have been produced in a way that takes care of the environment.

Writing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the team of environmental scientists at Denmark's University of Copenhagen said that the demand for organic food products is steadily increasing, partly because people expect that it will bring additional health benefits.

They said that their study was carried out under well-controlled conditions, and that they could not conclude that onions, carrots and potatoes grown organically were any richer in polyphenols than those grown according to conventional farming methods.

Half the land they cultivated was treated with pesticides, non-organic fertiliser and nutrients.

The other half was farmed organically, which meant using only natural aids such as manure instead of fertiliser.

They also rotated crops around different times of year, and through different parts of the country, to produce a more balanced result.

Polyphenols produced by plants are highly dependent on the kind of soil being used, climatic factors and attacks by pests.

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