Natural Health News — New research shows there are significant nutritional differences between organic and conventional crops.

The analysis – the largest of its kind to date – published in the British Journal of Nutrition – looked at fresh vegetables, fruit and cereals (as well as some pre-prepared foods such as baby food as well as wine and seed oils) in order to determine what nutritional differences, if any, there might be.

According to study the most striking differences revealed in the study are: higher concentrations of antioxidants and less frequent presence of pesticide residues in organic crops compared with non-organic.

Based on 343 peer-reviewed publications solely focusing on organic crops, fruit and vegetables, the Newcastle University scientists found that with greater nutrient and antioxidant density, every mouthful of fruit and vegetables produced organically can count for more.

On average organic produce had between 18% and 69% more antioxidant compounds.  Smaller, but still statistically significant, composition differences were also detected for a number of carotenoids and vitamins.

A switch to eating organic fruit, vegetable and cereals (and foods made from them), they say, would lead to a 20–40% (and for some compounds up to a 60%) increase in crop-based antioxidant and polyphenolic consumption without any increase in calories.

They noted that, in particular, there is increasing evidence that higher levels of manufactured chemical fertilisers, most notably the nitrogen and phosphate-based fertilisers that are prohibited or heavily restricted by organic farming standards, leads to substantially lower concentrations of antioxidants in conventional crops.

Previous research has shown that organic dairy products are higher in beneficial fats than conventional ones.

Photo of organic produce