Study finds organic foods may beat conventional in natural antioxidants tests

by: Cara Hungerford

September 23, 2003: Danish researchers have published a new study that suggests organic food contains higher levels of flavonoids than its conventional counterparts. Flavonoids, natural antioxidants, have been connected to a wide variety of health benefits and may help reduce the risk of cancer and circulatory disorders.

The eleven week study conducted by The Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences tested the flavonoid levels of six men and ten women after two 22 days periods following a strict diet. One period consisted totally of organically grown foods, the other entirely conventionally grown. Each participant was provided all their food for this period. Bottled and provided coffee were the only items not on the menu that participants were allowed to consume.

Each conventional and organic meal was nearly identical in make-up and size. The only difference in the meals could be seen in the varieties of produce provided. The produce used in the experiment was obtained from a local grocery store and available varieties were used. The varieties available for conventional were different than those available in organic.

The use of different produce varieties has lead to ultimately inconclusive results, with researchers warning that the differences found between the organic and conventional diets could be a result of the hardier varieties used by organic growers rather than the techniques themselves.

The study appeared in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2003, issue 51.