Organic Living – Cost Saving Or Pocket Burning?
A recent study took the world by surprise as researchers found vitamins in dietary supplements forms may not help in longevity but instead, increase mortality. The study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in February 2007, revealed that synthetic Vitamin A, Beta Carotene and Vitamin E sped up mortality rate by 16%, 7% and 4% respectively.
Nutritionists worldwide are, again, promoting taking vitamins and antioxidants in their natural forms: fruits and vegetables. And organic food is widely promoted by health retailers as the better alternative. Although organic food is pricey, it is deemed to be cost saving in the long run. Are these claims backed by sound researchers? Let’s look at the recent researches in the modest organic world.
Why Is Organic Food Cost Saving In The Long Run?
1. More Vitamins
We all know that vitamins are essential for numerous metabolism and defense system in our body. However, after JAMA report, we want to know and be sure the origins of our vitamins too. Whenever possible, eat from a wide range of food, preferably organic foods that are not chemically adulterated.
Various recent researchers showed that organic produce had higher contents of vitamins, particularly Vitamin C, compared to their conventional counterparts:
- Oranges – 30% higher
- Kiwis – 14% higher
- Peaches – 8% higher
- Frozen corns – 52% higher
- Apples puree – 36% higher
2. More Flavonoids
Flavonoids, a group of trace minerals responsible for the flavor and color of fruits and vegetables, contributed many vital roles in our body metabolism and regulation. Recent studies found that flavonoids content is higher in organic produce that conventional ones.
In July 2007, a 10 year comparison study revealed, organic tomatoes’ heart friendly flavonoids were higher than the conventional tomatoes by almost two folds. They had higher average of 79% quercetin and 97% kaempferol. According to these researchers, organic tomatoes expand more energy on making antioxidants such as flavonoids, which are their natural self defense properties.
- Researchers from University of California Davis – There were 17% more polyphenols in organic kiwis than conventional ones.
- Three European projects – There were more flavonoids, polyphenols and total phenols in organic tomatoes, peaches and processed apples.
- An earlier Danish study – Organic vegetables had higher levels of flavonoids. They also found that human who ate organic vegetables for three weeks had higher levels of quercetins in their urine samples.
3. More Beneficial Fatty Acids
Another important component that appears to be higher in organic than conventional produce is essential fatty acids especially omega-3 fatty acid. A 12 month sampling study on organic and conventional cow milk in the United Kingdom found that the organic milk had significantly higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. This study, published in the Journal of Dairy Sciences in June 2006, also found that there was a lower ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids.
Another comparison study done earlier of five European regions found higher levels of beneficial fatty acids in organic dairy milk as compared to the non-organic milk. There were content of:
- monosaturated fatty acids
- higher polyunsaturated fatty acids
- conjugated linoleic acid
- vaccenic acid, alpha-linoleic acid
- other fat soluble antioxidants
In another study on organic and non organic chickens, the former showed higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids [mainly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapenaenoic acid (DHA)] in both breast meat and drumstick. These organic chickens also had carcasses with more moisture and lower fat in muscles of breast and drumsticks. This showed that organic broiler chickens had more physical activities as compared to non-organic which had higher tendency to grow fat storage.
A recent study on 312 breastfeeding women from the Netherlands found that a diet consisting of 90% or more organic dairy and meat products delivered higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in their breast milk. CLA is believed to influence a healthy ratio of fat distributions in infants. Besides that, CLA promotes good development of immune system in infants too.
4. Lesser Toxins
A study published in March 2003 found that American children consuming organic foods for three consecutive days had significantly lower levels of organophosphates metabolites contamination in their urine samples as compared to those who were on conventional diets. Exposure to organophosphate pesticides is linked to poor neural development and even, childhood cancers. It can cause acute poisonings when consumed accidentally.
There are also lesser toxins present in processed and manufactured organic produce like juices, snacks and sauces. The main reason for this is due to the stringent organic regulations that ban most of the food additives like colorings, preservatives, flavorings and emulsifiers.
Another interesting point to look at organic produce often stood strong despite waves of turbulences on food poisoning or diseases.
At face value, the organic products always seem expensive but in the long run, organic foods are indeed far cheaper than conventional foods. Look at all the savings that you will have because you and your family are getting real value for your money. You will not only save your money when you eat organic foods, you will most probably save your own life too!