A new study from the University of Barcelona documented higher levels of healthy compounds in organic tomatoes than conventional tomatoes.
We know organic produce is better for the environment, and better for our health because of less chemical contamination, but what about the food itself? Is it healthier than conventional produce? “Yes,” says a new study from the University of Barcelona—about tomatoes, anyway.
The study analyzed the phenolic compound content of tomatoes in organic and conventionally grown tomatoes. Polyphenols are antioxidants with potential health benefits including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The organic tomatoes contained statistically higher levels of these health-promoting compounds than their nonorganic counterparts of the same variety.
The reason for the nutritional differences between organic and nonorganic tomatoes may come from the tomatoes’ immunity against harmful factors such as pests. Without sprays or chemicals, organic foods must build up their own defences, thereby strengthening their immunity. It’s a bit like how our bodies can become immune to certain colds or viruses after having been exposed to them in the past. In the case of tomatoes, this may increase their antioxidant content.