The French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA) released a study last week that outlines a number of health benefits to eating organic food.
This comes on the heels of a UK study that said just the opposite. According to the AFSSA study, organic foods are not only more nutritious, but they’re safer. Here are the study’s main findings:
- Organic fruits and veggies contain more iron, magnesium, antioxidants and micronutrients.
- Organic animal products are higher in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, and cows raised on grass have a higher muscle mass, which means leaner meat.
- They didn’t make a call on organic carbohydrates, such as cereals, because there wasn’t enough data. However, they noted that organic barley is higher in calcium, zinc, and copper.
- This was the most interesting finding, in my opinion: “94–100% of organic food does not contain any pesticide residues.” This is huge. Not only are pesticides hard on the environment, certain pesticides are linked to cancer and other health issues.
- Organic vegetables contain far fewer nitrates – about 50% fewer. Nitrates are nasty business. Dr Suzanne de la Monte of Rhode Island Hospital recently released results linking nitrates to health problems such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
It’s interesting that two studies with such contradictory results would come out around the same time. The AFSSA findings about pesticide residues and nitrates alone are really enough to convince me that organics are the smarter choice. From what I’ve read, the UK study didn’t address food safety, only nutritional content. What do you guys think – does any of this make you more or less likely to grab the organic option next time you’re in the produce aisle?
Image Credit:Carrots and Eggplants. Creative Commons photo by jdickert