Organic Foods May Fight Disease
Disease-Fighting Factors Fill Sustainably Farmed Foods
However, it's not at all clear that organic foods are much better for you than other fruits and vegetables. Carl J. Rosen, PhD, interim head of horticultural science at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, agrees with Francis that nutritional value isn't the main reason many people find organic foods attractive.
"I think it is to some degree naive to think organic foods are more nutritious," Rosen tells WebMD. "Still, one might buy organic foods for lots of reasons. One is pesticide residue. As for nutritional quality, a lot of the produce that is sold in the supermarket is grown hydroponically -- that means with no organic matter. If you compare the nutritional quality of a tomato grown hydroponically to one grown organically, there likely would be some differences, but you couldn't say one is healthier than the other."
Nevertheless, Mitchell says the findings have changed the way she eats.
"Yes, it changed my habits," she says. "I went into this because we do a lot of work on flavonoids. I am not a farmer. When we got the results we did, I was surprised. I have started buying organic everything. If nothing else, it did convince me."
Mitchell's findings appear in the Feb. 26 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Though the bulk of the research was funded by the University of California, Davis, some funding -- largely in the form of donated fruits and vegetables -- came from Oregon Freeze-Dry Inc. and Stahlbush Island Farms Inc., producers and/or growers of organic and sustainably farmed foods.