By Nina Cusmano
People tend to eat organic because they believe that it is healthier, but do we know the specific benefits?
A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition addresses this ambiguity people face when they opt for the higher prices of organic over non-organic foods.
The study, outlined by NPR, identified that organic dairy and meats have about 50 percent more omega-3 fatty acids. Increased omega-3s have been associated with reducing cardiovascular disease and improving neurological and immune function, according to the NPR article.
However, it isn’t known exactly how much of these nutrients are needed to gain benefits.
Organically-grown foods have also been found to have an increased amount of antioxidants, anthocyanins, flavonols and polyacetylene compounds.
Polyacetylenes are a naturally produced compound in crops under stress, such as insect attacks. Organic crops without pesticides have increased levels of these compounds. In humans, polyacetylenes can help reduce inflammation and cancer risk.
The study focused on the UK but research in the U.S. has yielded similar results. Overall, the study provided evidence that farming methods do impact the nutritional value of food produced.
There are definitely differences between organic and non-organic foods that exceed just the price. It seems to be up to the individual consumer, though, to decide if these differences are worth the cost.