The Nutritional Benefits of Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Post by Dr. Jessica Shade, the Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center, a non-profit research and education organization focused on evidence-based science about the environmental and health benefits of organic food and farming.

Do you think eating organic is better for you? Recent studies are backing up what many thought: organic foods do indeed have a healthier nutritional profile than their conventional counterparts. And they’re also lower in pesticide residues.

This series shares some of the science behind the nutritional benefits of organic foods. First up: fruits and vegetables. Part two covers organic dairy and part three goes into pesticide residues.

Did you know?

  • Eating organic fruits and vegetables could increase your antioxidant intake by 20-40%.
  • Organic strawberries have more nutrients and antioxidants than their conventional counterparts.
  • Organic tomatoes are 50% higher in vitamin C content than conventional tomatoes.

Antioxidants pack a bigger punch in organic fruit and vegetables.

new study out of the United Kingdom found that organic crops have significantly higher antioxidant levels when compared to conventional crops. The international research team looked at antioxidant activity and found a 17% mean percentage difference between organic and conventional crops.

When assessing individual antioxidants in organic and conventional crops, the organic ones had 19% higher levels of phenolic acids, 69% higher levels of flavanones, 28% higher levels of stilbenes, 26% higher levels of flavones, 50% higher levels of flavonols, and 51% higher levels of anthocyanins.

That’s a lot of numbers but it all adds up to good news for organic food eaters. Do you eat those recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day? If so, eating organic foods rather than conventional is like getting two extra servings worth of antioxidants.

Several other studies examined individual crops and found similar antioxidant benefits of organic. A study published last year found that organic tomatoes on average were 50% higher in vitamin C content over conventional tomatoes, and had 139% higher total phenolic content.

A number of studies found that organic strawberries have more nutrients and antioxidants than their conventional counterparts. For example, one study showed that organic strawberries contain more vitamin C than conventional strawberries. Another study showedorganic strawberries are also higher in fiber and total phenols, which are known for their antioxidant activity and support of cardiovascular health.

So, now you know: make sure you eat all your fruits and veggies AND make sure they are organic for the biggest nutritional bang for your buck.*


* And eat Juice Plus+ which is ‘better than organic”!