It's spring. Time to start thinking about planting and buying fresh fruits and vegetables. As always, you'll hear lots of debate about whether organic is really better. Well, the results are now in! . . .

The largest, most comprehensive study ever conducted on organic crops has now been published. The meta-analysis included 343 peer reviewed studies from all over the world. It found that organic crops contain substantially more antioxidants and less pesticide than conventionally grown nonorganic crops.

Non-organic crops were found to have four times the frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues than organic crops. They also had higher concentrations of the toxic metal cadmium. Cadmium is known to be an especially concerning kidney toxin. It can also cause cardiovascular damage and cognitive impairment. Cadmium is one of the toxins found in cigarettes. 

Organic crops contained a whole range of antioxidants that were substantially higher than in nonorganic crops. Different antioxidants were higher by 19%-69%. A number of important
antioxidants that were higher in organic crops include 19% more phenolic acids, 26% more flavones, 50% more flavonoids, and 51% more anthocyanins. 

There were also significant differences for some other vitamins and minerals. 

The researchers said that the differences were statistically significant and meaningful. 

(Br J Nutr 2014;112:794-811)

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