Three significant benefits of organically grown plant-based foods

July 2014

A new meta-study on the differences in the nutritional quality and safety of organic versus conventional food identifies three significant benefits of organic plant-based foods – far fewer pesticide residues, about 50% less cadmium (a toxic heavy metal), and 20% to 40% higher levels of antioxidant polyphenols.

Demeter cornfield, Germany

The study (Baranski et al.) found 25 direct comparisons of cadmium in organic and conventional plant-based foods that included mean levels, sample sizes, and standard deviations/standard errors – all essential data to conduct a weighted (recommended) meta-analysis. Baranski et al. reports a statistically significant, 49% difference (lower) level in organic foods.

Baranski et al. conclude that there are significant differences in the nutritional quality of organic versus conventional plant-based foods, largely because of enhanced polyphenol levels.

There is, actually, considerable agreement on the presence, and even magnitude in most cases, of differences in nutrient levels in organic and conventional foods. The focus of debate has been and will likely remain the key question – Would increasing antioxidant intakes 20% to 40% in plant-based foods improve public health outcomes?

The Baranski-Study acknowledges that many questions remain about the bioavailability of plant-based antioxidants, how necessary they are at different life stages, and how inadequate intakes shift the burden of disease. But the view of Baranski et al is that the weight of evidence supports linkages between higher antioxidant intakes and improved health outcomes, despite inability to quantify such linkages or predict fully which factors drive them.

Baranski et al conclude that every effort should be made now to increase fruit and vegetable intakes, as well as the concentrations of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables. They also hope scientists will be given the resources needed to establish more precisely how, under what circumstances, and to what extent antioxidants in plant-based foods enhance positive health outcomes, for example, through organic farming and/or switching servings of fruits and vegetables to those that are more nutrient dense and deeply colored.

Why Are There Generally Higher Nutrient Levels in Organic Food?

Baranski et al. explains that the level of nitrogen available to plants, and the form in which nitrogen is supplied, plays a major role in driving antioxidant and other nutrient levels up or down. In general, the higher the nitrogen level, and the greater the percentage of nitrogen applied in a readily available form, the greater the risk of diluting, or lowering, the concentrations of health-promoting plant phytochemicals in plant-based foods.

This conclusion leads to a vital insight — how farmers feed their plants helps determine the nutritional profile of the food harvested from them.

The more nutritionally desirable profile of omega fatty acids in organic versus conventional milk (see paper in PLOS ONE) also can be largely explained by what dairy cows are fed – the higher the percentage of grass and legume pasture and forage-based feeds in the cow’s diet, the higher the level of health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids in her milk.

Despite many gaps in knowledge on how diets impact health, Baranski et al. share the view of most governments around the world that human health trajectories will be improved if people consume more servings of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables and whole grains, while avoiding excessive amounts of sugar, omega-6 heavy oils, and carbohydrates.

It seems that several fields of science are pointing towards a common theme applicable to plants, people, and cows – what and how we are fed helps determine how, and how well, we live.

Source & More: http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=12751

All news in this category

Stanford University Reviews Waldorf Education

Waldorf education has a lot of support. With over 1,000 schools operating around the world and a 100-year track record, Waldorf has stood the test of... [more]

Domestic report: Poland

The history of the Polish waldorf school movement started in 1920’s when a group of sympathizers of waldorf pedagogy established the first waldorf... [more]

Domestic report: Latvia

The history of Waldorf movement in the Republic of Latvia dates back to the early 1990ies when soon after the fall of the Iron curtain new ideas and... [more]

Digital media are a great danger for our brain

“Digital media is fulfilling a fundamental dream of humanity: the mastery of time and space, but that also entails a great danger”, says brain... [more]

Domestic Report: Czech Republic

Waldorf education started soon after 1989. In 1990, the first school started in Písek as well as two kindergartens and soon afterwards 6 schools... [more]

Domestic Report: France

France is a totally centralized country in all respects, including education of course. Therefore, Steiner-Waldorf schools have a very fine line to... [more]

Waldorf100 – watch the Movie

2019 the Waldorf movement will celebrate it's 100th birthday. Time to look back and forward. [more]

Three stages of disruption

Donald Trump, writes Otto Scharmer, is to democracy what 2008 was to capitalism: a profound wake-up call reminding us that the system is broken and... [more]

Putting modern childhood under the spotlight

The International Festival of Childhood, planned for later this year, aims to examine the issues affecting modern childhood. The evidence suggests... [more]

Domestic Report: Sweden

Waldorfskolefederationen started in the 80ies. Today most schools are members of the Swedish federation (Waldorfskolefederationen). In the early... [more]

Displaying results 21 to 30 out of 124

< Previous

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Next >

Follow