Article

Organic food and impact on human health: Assessing the status quo and prospects of research

NJAS: wageningen journal of life sciences (Impact Factor: 1.14). 12/2011; 58(3-4):103-109. DOI: 10.1016/j.njas.2011.01.004

ABSTRACT The paper gives an overview of recent studies investigating the health value of organic foods and presents a framework for estimating the scientific impact of these studies. Furthermore, the problems connected with the different research approaches are being discussed. A number of comparative studies showed lower nitrate contents and less pesticide residues, but usually higher levels of vitamin C and phenolic compounds in organic plant products, as well as higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid in milk from organically raised animals. However, the variation in outcomes of comparative studies is very high, depending on plant fertilization, ripening stage and plant age at harvest, and weather conditions. Moreover, there appeared no simple relationship between nutritional value and health effects. It is difficult therefore to draw conclusions from analytical data about the health effects of organic foods. Some in vitro studies comparing health-related properties of organic vs conventional foods showed higher antioxidative and antimutagenic activity as well as better inhibition of cancer cell proliferation of organically produced food. If ‘health effects’ are defined as effects on defined diseases in humans, evidence for such effects is presently lacking. Animal studies carried out so far have demonstrated positive effects of an organic diet on weight, growth, fertility indices and immune system. Recent human epidemiological studies associated consumption of organic foods with lower risks of allergies, whereas findings of human intervention studies were still ambiguous. The hypothesis might be that organic food increases the capacity of living organisms towards resilience. To confirm this, effect studies on specific markers for health are necessary.

3 Followers
 · 
419 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Lunasin is a plant peptide that has health benefits such as cancer-preventing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering effects. However, there is actually no information on the influence of cropping on the lunasin content of cereals. Therefore, we studied lunasin in 22 spring barley genotypes grown both organically and conventionally during two seasons. We found that lunasin content of barley grain averaged 44.8 mu g/g, ranging from 5.0 to 189.0 mu g/g. Organic farming increased average lunasin content by 47-92 %. Ten out of 22 genotypes produced significantly more lunasin under organic farming in both years. Our findings evidence positive effects of organic farming on lunasin content in barley.
    Agronomy for Sustainable Development 10/2014; 34(4):783-791. DOI:10.1007/s13593-013-0203-4 · 2.84 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The CIEL*a*b* and sensory color and anthocyanin, ascorbic acid and total phenolic contents were determined in strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch, cv Selva) grown in the same geographical area of Galicia (NW Spain) under organic and conventional farming methods. The cultivation system was significant for all of the CIEL*a*b* surface color parameters. The color of the organic fruits was darker, less vivid and frequently redder (lower L*, C* and H values). These differences were consistent with the higher scores given by assessors in the external color evaluation for organically grown strawberry. Furthermore, the organic strawberries had a significantly higher level of anthocyanins (19.3 ± 6.8 versus 9.8 ± 1.8 μg/g fresh wt (fw) for Cyn-3-glu; 332.3 ± 66.5 versus 254.1 ± 33.6 μg/g fw for Pgd-3-glub) and ascorbic acid (86.4 ± 12.7 versus 71.2 ± 4.9 mg/100 g fw); in contrast, the cultivation system (organic or conventional) did not affect the total phenolic content. The organic strawberries have a higher nutritional value, in terms of antioxidant compounds, which is also reflected in better sensory color characteristics.
    Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 11/2012; 28(1):23–30. DOI:10.1016/j.jfca.2012.07.004 · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of the current study was to investigate if there are any health effects of long-term consumption of organically grown crops using a rat model. Crops were retrieved over two years from a long-term field trial at three different locations in Denmark, using three different cultivation systems (OA, organic based on livestock manure; OB, organic based on green manure; and C, conventional with mineral fertilizers and pesticides) with two field replicates. The cultivation system had an impact on the nutritional quality, affecting γ-tocopherol, some amino acids, and fatty acid composition. Additionally, the nutritional quality was affected by harvest year and location. However, harvest year and location rather than cultivation system affected the measured health biomarkers. In conclusion, the differences in dietary treatments composed of ingredients from different cultivation systems did not lead to significant differences in the measured health biomarkers, except for a significant difference in plasma IgG levels.
    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 05/2012; 60(25):6383-90. DOI:10.1021/jf3011323 · 3.11 Impact Factor