Both organic and spoiled food is better for you than you thought

(01/08) via JS

Preliminary findings from a 12 million pound, four-year EU study based at the Tesco Centre for Organic Agriculture at Newcastle University suggests that organic fruit, vegetables and milk are more nutritious than non-organic food and may contain higher concentrations of antioxidants.

The early results of the study show that organic fruit and vegetables have up to 40% more antioxidants than non-organically grown produce. Even greater contrasts were found for milk, with organic milk containing up to 60% more antioxidants and healthy fatty acids.

The Newcastle University researchers raise cattle and grow fruit and vegetables on 725 acres of organic and non-organic farms situated next to each other at the university's agriculture centre in Stocksfield, Northumberland. Similar set-ups exist at other research
centres across Europe.

Their findings contradict advice by the UK government's Food Standards Agency which states that organic produce is no healthier than non-organically produced food. The researchers now want to explore the underlying mechanisms by which organic as opposed to non-organic farming methods lead to such higher concentrations of healthy nutritients.

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A study at the Plant Biology Institute at Belgium's University of Liege suggests that most fruits and vegetables don't lose their antioxidants when they start to look bad.

The researchers bought bought 29 different kinds of fruits and vegetables including apples, apricots, asparagus, bananas, broccoli, carrots, celery, cherries, cucumbers, French beans, garlic, black grapes, green grapes, green peppers, kiwifruit, leeks, lemons, lettuce, melons, onions, oranges, pears, black plums, red peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, and yellow peppers from a wholesale distribution centre.

They measured the antioxidant levels of those fruits and vegetables (black grapes, strawberries, and red peppers were particularly high) and then stored the fruits and veggies at room temperature or at 39 degrees Fahrenheit until they saw signs that the fruits and vegetables were spoiling - seven days for apricots and 51 days for carrots.
They then measured the antioxidant levels in the spoiled items and found that for most the antioxidant levels had risen or remained stable.
Broccoli, spinach and bananas were among the few exceptions that had lower antioxidant levels when spoiled compared with immediately after being bought.

(Source: Kevers, C. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Oct. 17, 2007; vol 55: pp 8589-8595)

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