Asked by: Ian Paget, Reading
A study at Newcastle University in 2014 found that organic fruit and vegetables had higher levels of antioxidants than non-organic varieties. This isn’t too surprising – since plants make antioxidants to fight off insects, organic farmers normally grow varieties that naturally produce larger amounts of these substances.
Organic fruit and vegetables also have lower levels of pesticides than normal crops, but so do GM vegetables because they have been genetically engineered to be pest-resistant. This cuts down on the need to spray the crops.
Unlike vitamins, however, plant antioxidants are not essential nutrients for humans – and some antioxidants are even harmful. So organic vegetables aren’t necessarily better for you than genetically modified or regular crops. The proportion of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet has a much bigger effect on your health than the way in which they are grown.