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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


Mindfully.org note:
Flavonoids are a large family of polyphenolic compounds synthesized by plants. Scientists are interested in the potential health benefits of flavonoids associated with fruit and vegetable-rich diets. Many of the biological effects of flavonoids appear to be related to their ability to modulate cell signaling pathways, rather than their antioxidant activity. Although higher intakes of flavonoid-rich foods are associated with reductions in cardiovascular disease risk, it is not yet known whether flavonoids themselves are cardioprotective. Despite promising results in animal studies, it is not clear whether high flavonoid intakes can help prevent cancer in humans. Although scientists are interested in the potential of flavonoids to protect the aging brain, it is not yet clear how flavonoid consumption affects neurodegenerative disease risk in humans. Higher intakes of flavonoid-rich foods have been associated with reduced risk of chronic disease in some studies, but it is not known whether isolated flavonoid supplements or extracts will confer the same benefits as flavonoid-rich foods. 

source: Linus Pauling Institute 12jul2007

Also see:
Organic Farming Yields 'As Good or Better' Than Conventional Farming

Reuters 11jul2007


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."

source: 12jul2007

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