New evidence shows organic is more nutritious

A comprehensive review of 97 published studies comparing the nutritional quality of organic and conventional foods shows that organic plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains) contain higher levels of eight of 11 nutrients studied, including significantly greater concentrations of the health-promoting polyphenols and antioxidants.

In this first comprehensive review of the scientific literature comparing nutrient levels in organic and conventional food completed since 2003, a team of scientists concluded that organically grown plant-based foods are 25% more nutrient dense, on average, and hence deliver more essential nutrients per serving or calorie consumed.

Nutrient levels were studied in 236 matched pairs of foods with scientifically valid results on the levels of 10 nutrients, plus nitrates (high levels are undesirable because of food safety risks). Each matched pair contains, for example, an apple crop grown organically and another apple crop from a nearby conventional farm with similar soils, climate, plant genetics, irrigation systems, nitrogen levels, and harvest practices.

The new report is published as a “State of Science Review” by The Organic Center and is entitled “New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant-based Organic Foods.” The co-authors are Charles Benbrook, the Center’s Chief Scientist, Xin Zhao of the University of Florida, and three Washington State University (WSU) scientists Jaime Yáñez, Neal Davies, and Preston Andrews. Dr. Andrew Weil, a Center board member, wrote the foreword to the Report.

The full report and its executive summary are accessible on the Center’s website:

© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report May 2008.