There are two basic reasons that organic foods may be beneficial. First, it means that residues from potentially dangerous and harmful chemicals on your food are reduced significantly, and secondly the nutrient density of organic produce may be substantially higher than produce grown with conventional modern agricultural methods
Less Harmful Chemicals
The chemicals used in traditional growing methods are worthy of some attention. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies many pesticides as carcinogens, and have been shown in several different studies have a correlation to higher incidents of cancer. Increased exposure to certain pesticides are also possibly correlated with an increased risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.
Potentially Higher Nutritional Content
In addition to subjecting yourself to less of these chemicals, most organically grown produce is grown from cultivars that have not been genetically modified. Why is this important? Many produce cultivars that have been genetically modified to optimize growth rates, be more disease and weather-resistant, and improve yields. Although these plant varieties my improve profits for the farmers, too often the same modifications that improve profitability decrease nutritional density. A recent study comparing nutrient content of 43 different garden crops from 1950 to 1999 has shown "statistically reliable declines [...] for 6 nutrients (protein, calcium, potassium, iron, riboflavin, and ascorbic acid), with declines ranging from 6% for protein to 38% for riboflavin."
There has been many research studies on the differences of organically grown produce vs conventionally grown produce some have found no significant difference but many others have found very significant improvements in nutrient density. Nutrikinetics, a Washington DC based organization, "reviewed 41 studies that compared crops produced with organic fertilizer or by organic farming systems to crops produced using conventional farming systems. It was reported that organic crops contained 27% more vitamin C, 21.1% more iron, 29.3% more magnesium, and 13.6% more phosphorus than did conventional crops."
However, it is interesting to note that in organically cultivated plants there has been found an increase in plant secondary metabolites, many of which have not been studied, but some of which are "considered to be of possible human health concern" such as an in increase in glycoalkloids which plants produce naturally to increase their own pest resistance.
What do you think?
What are the benefits you have seen from organic produce? Have you noticed a difference? Comment below and let us know.
 Organic Foods | Institue of Food Technologists | CARL K.WINTER AND SARAH F. DAVIS | LINK
2. Evaluating Pesticides for Carcinogenic Potential | United States Environmental Protection Agency | LINK
3. Cancer Trends Progress Report | National Cancer Institute | LINK
4. Maternal residence near agricultural pesticide applications and autism spectrum disorders among children in the California Central Valley | Public Health Institute, Oakland, California | LINK
5. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides | Maryse F. Bouchard, PhD, et al | LINK