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A recent scientific publication of a study by School of Agriculture Food and Rural Development (AFRD) of Newcastle University, UK, has concluded something that the advocates of Organic Farming have been screaming themselves hoarse for years – that organically grown food is far superior to the chemically grown ones.
The study has been published as a technical paper in the July issue of British Journal of Nutrition.
To highlight some key findings … Compared to chemically grown food, organic foods have:
As is now commonly known, increased antioxidant intake reduces risks of cancers and various other ailments. It is also relatively well known that ingestion of heavy metals such as cadmium is associated with various health risks, so the lower the better. Umpteen researchers and writers have written about pesticide bio-accumulation in food chain could be linked to not only to cancers but also congenital problems in progeny. However, what came as a surprise to me is that increased intake of nitrogen in the form of nitrite and nitrates could be risk factors for ailments such as stomach cancers.
The study shows that how you grow the food impacts its quality, and growing food organically tends to improve on what is nutritionally desirable and reduce those that are undesirable. It seems to me that modern science is rediscovering and quantifying what was intuitively known all along in Indian yogic and medicinal systems.
What is encouragingly unique about this Newcastle University study is that its analysis is more comprehensive – based on 343 peer reviewed publications which were solely focusing on organic crops, fruit and vegetables. Further, more than 50% of these publications are recent (post-2006). By contrast, a study commissioned by UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) in 2009 relied on only 46 publications which included not just food crops but meat and dairy also.
In sum and substance, it is encouraging that an organic food consumer will receive much more antioxidants from less food (meaning less calorie intake) – which also indirectly translates as less expenditure. To use a clichéd expression … Much more from much less …and thus much more for much less!
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