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Is Organically Grown Food Really Better for You?

Apples have been added to the growing debate surrounding the nutrition of organically grown foods versus conventionally grown foods.

A study published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that organic apples may have up to 15% more antioxidant capacity than conventional apples.

Researchers from the Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food in Karlsruhe, Germany compared the polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity of organically and conventionally grown Golden Delicious apples.  They conducted their research over a three year period, from 2004 to 2006.

The researchers found that the organic apples had a 15% higher antioxidant capacity compared to the conventionally grown apples.

These results have been countered by Joseph Rosen, scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health.  Rosen claims the data used was selective and did not provide an accurate analysis.  He further states that when the data is recalculated properly it shows that conventional products are actually 2% more nutritious than organic varieties.

Proponents on both sides of the debate have highlighted various bodies of research and studies to back their conclusions.

For instance, a relatively recent review, published in the journal Nutrition Bulletin (June 2007, Vol. 32, pp. 104-110) stated that the current body of science does not provide enough evidence to conclude that organic food is more nutritious than conventionally grown food.

So how can you decide whether to consumer organic or conventional foods?  Doing some research on your own can help in making this decision.  Furthermore, your choice will likely be based only in part on nutritional value, due to the fact that eating organic local produce has a huge effect on the environment, your own local economies, and the freshness of your foods.

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