Fruits and vegetables grown organically have higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventional food, and the difference is enough to have a “significant impact on health and nutrition,” according to a recent study published in the journal of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

The levels were 58.5 percent higher in corn, 50 percent higher in blackberries, and 19 percent higher in strawberries.

“We expect these results to be transferable to most produce,” said Alyson Mitchell, PhD, a food scientist at the University of California, Davis, and lead author of the paper, “and it’s definitely changed the way I think about my food.”

The antioxident compounds are produced by plants in response to stress, such as that caused by insect pests or competing weeds. The plant’s need for these natural safeguards decreases with the use of herbicides and pesticides in chemical agriculture. “By synthetically protectingthe produce from pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidents (a pest repellent),” Mitchell says. “It suggests we are doing something to our food inadvertently.”

Well, yes, that would be one conclusion.

About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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