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Your Health Matters

Organic Foods feed our need for Antioxidants

produceA recent study by Newcastle University confirms that organic farming methods yields foods that have significantly higher levels of antioxidants, thus having a positive impact on health. Antioxidants come from fresh fruits and vegetables and prohibit the oxidation of molecules in our bodies.

Oxidation is not good for our health. As we age, our body experiences oxidative stress caused by oxidation, which occurs when our body’s molecules lose electrons to electrically-charged molecules of oxygen our bloodstream—called free radicals. These free radicals can cause damage to our DNA and over the years, can cause damage to our bodies and even lead to disease.

Laboratory and animal research have shown that antioxidants can help prevent the free radical damage associated with the development of cancer. Plants produce the chemicals that form antioxidants in response to environmental stress, such as pests, disease and a relative lack of soil nutrients. Because conventionally grown foods treated with pesticides are more protected from this stress, they don’t have as great a need to produce antioxidants.

Regarding the study, Carlos Leifert, Professor of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University and lead author of the Newcastle study, says, “It shows very clearly how you grow your food has an impact, and that if you buy organic fruits and vegetables, you can be sure you have, on average, a higher amount of antioxidants at the same calorie level.”

Additionally, the study reveals that conventionally grown foods are three to four times more likely to contain pesticide residues, and twice as likely to contain cadmium, a toxic heavy metal contaminant.

According to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, switching from conventionally grown to organic food could result in getting 20 to 40 percent more antioxidants.

Many have long believed that consuming conventionally farmed food treated with toxic chemicals isn’t healthy. This study confirms that our bodies benefit from organically farmed food with higher levels of antioxidants.