Here’s some health news out of Washington, DC: organic potatoes may contain more nutrients than conventional potatoes. There’s been a debate going on for years now about whether organic vegetables and fruits are any healthier for you than conventional produce. Results from clinical trials have generally shown that organic, natural foods do seem to offer more in the way of nutrition.
This recent trial backs up that claim. A team of U.S. scientists noted the following: whether or not all foods marketed to consumers as “organic” meet specified standards to justify the use of that label, or are nutritionally different from conventional foods, is uncertain. So they conducted a study in a retail market in a Western U.S. metropolitan area. Specifically, they wanted to find if there were any differences in mineral composition between conventional potatoes and those marketed as organic.
The scientists measured the chemical composition of both types of potatoes. It turns out that those marketed as organic had more copper and magnesium, but less iron and sodium than conventional potatoes. Both types of potatoes had the same concentration of calcium, potassium and zinc.
They concluded that comparison of individual mineral concentrations between foods sold as organic or conventional is unlikely to point to significant differences between the two, but more sophisticated tests could likely tell us more. They noted that, although statistically significant, the nutritional differences found in this study would only minimally affect total dietary intake of these minerals and would be unlikely to result in measurable health benefits.
That doesn’t mean that, over the long term, organic produce isn’t going to net you more vitamins and minerals and other ingredients. A daily effort of eating organic food over the course of a year, let’s say, may very well provide you with some significant, measureable health benefits.
At the very least, follow this health advice: buy organic whenever you can and help protect the environment (and yourself) from pesticides that can and do make it into our air and water.
For more on the benefits of organic food, read our article Pesticides Associated with Cancer Risk.