Organics May Cut Heart Disease
ED SUSMAN / UPI 11jul2007
Ten-Year Comparison of the Influence of
Organic and Conventional Crop Management Practices
on the Content of Flavonoids in Tomatoes
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 23jun2007
source: Linus Pauling Institute 12jul2007
WASHINGTON — The level of flavonoids — "the good stuff" — in fruits and vegetables appears to be increased in organically grown crops, say U.S. researchers.
And those higher levels may have intriguing implications for cutting the risk of heart disease, they said.
Scientists said Wednesday that levels of flavonoids in tomatoes harvested over a 10-year period increased in a field grown organically when compared to a matched field in which the tomatoes were farmed commercially.
"We believe that flavonoids are substances that will help improve health," said Allyson Mitchell, associate professor and food chemist at the University of California at Davis.
"There are some indications that people who eat increased amounts of fruits and vegetables rich in flavonoids have a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease," Mitchell told United Press International.
Her study, a rare long-term study, is being published in the July 18 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a biweekly publication of the Washington-based American Chemical Society.
Other research has suggested that consumption of flavonoids may protect against cancer, heart disease and other age-related diseases.
The research focused on tomatoes because per capita consumption in the United States is so high, second only to potatoes. Researchers analyzed organic and conventional tomatoes that had been dried and archived under identical conditions from 1994 to 2004.
"The levels of flavonoids increased over time in samples from organic treatments, whereas the levels of flavonoids did not vary significantly in conventional treatments," Mitchell reported.
Increases corresponded with the accumulation of soil organic matter in organic plots and with reduced fertilization rates. "Well-quantified changes in tomato nutrients over years in organic farming systems have not been reported previously."