The Spring 2011 issue of Abundant Life Seeds (www.AbundantLifeSeeds.com) catalog has some interesting information about the “how” involved in the fact that organic gardening and farming methods produce more flavorful and colorful, and even more nutritious, fruits and vegetables.
“In a major new study by a team of scientists from Washington State University…it concluded that… organically farmed soils had more carbon and higher concentrations of micronutrients resulting in antioxidant rich fruits that provide health benefits. Antioxidants are powerful allies in combating heart disease and cancer risks; they promote strong immune systems that help tip the odds towards graceful aging. Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Most of us need to double our antioxidant intake to take full advantage of their health potential.
“Did you know that organic gardening and farming methods can increase antioxidant compounds in vegetables by an average of roughly 30% compared to conventional gardening or farming practices? One explanation is linked to pest pressure. When plants are under stress from pests, they produce a diverse array of natural chemicals called Secondary Plant Metabolites (SPM’s). Many of these natural chemicals are antioxidants. SPM’s are also partially responsible for giving vegetables and fruits their bright coloring and distinctive flavors. Plants grown in organic gardens or farms typically deal with higher levels of pests than plants under conventional cultivation where pesticides are robustly used. For this reason organically grown plants fully engage their innate defense systems and in doing so elevate antioxidant concentrations.”
We already knew that pesticide levels in fruits and vegetables made them unsafe –especially over the long run – to eat, being linked possibly to such ills as cancers, heart disease, hormonal disruptions, etc. Now it appears that the old adage about “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is not necessarily true! A pesticide-laden carrot might still be better than a bag of Cheetos, but neither one is likely to keep you from getting a cold.
So the lesson for us all is, buy organic whenever and however you can afford it… grow it if you can!! Look into community gardens or local farm “subscriptions”. Feed your earthworms and “slow feed” your plants with organic fertilizers… and enjoy those super-delicious crisp organic fruits and veggies!