You are probably convinced that organic vegetables are better for your health than conventionally-grown vegetables. However, scientists have a more nuanced opinion. Things are not black and white, and the issues involved are broader than imagined.
According to a 2003 report by the French National Agency for Health and Food Safety (ANSES), the differences in nutritional value between organically grown and conventionally grown products were small, with no influence on health in the context of the overall diet. This report was updated in 2010 in the face of consumer fears, as debate heated up on the subject between organic agriculture supporters and detractors. The conclusions were the same! For carbohydrates, minerals, trace elements, and vitamins, there is no marked difference between the two production methods. Only vitamin C and some antioxidants (polyphenols) were found in significantly higher quantities in organic fruits and vegetables because they face more aggressions (insects, for example) than conventional produce and defend themselves by producing more of those protective compounds.
Live organic, live happy, live healthy!
In 2015, European Parliament members also studied the question with the help of numerous experts. Their report also does not leave room for doubt on the question, but it did provide some complementary information that comes with advances in research:
- The goal of organic agriculture is to produce food while preserving the environment, biodiversity, and animal health.
- The experts consulted all concurred: it is less organic food than the lifestyle that guarantees better health. Studies revealed that consumers of organic products are generally more active, smoke less, eat less meat and more vegetables, and drink less alcohol. They also have a lower risk of being overweight.
In other words, adopting this kind of food is above all a way of opting for a sustainable lifestyle, with more carefully considered dietary choices. In the case of fruits and vegetables, total consumption (the five-per-day target) will doubtlessly have more impact than the choice of organic or conventional produce.