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July 5, 2007

Ten Year Study: Organic Food Double The Level Of Flavonoids

Topics: Nutrition and Cancer

tomatoes.jpgResearch studies have consistently provided evidence suggesting an association between consumption of diets high in flavonoids and the reduced risk of cancer, reduction in high blood pressure, and lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Now researchers report that in a ten-year study comparing organic tomatoes with standard produce, it has been found that organic tomatoes contained almost double the level of flavonoids - a type of antioxidant:

Writing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the team said nitrogen in the soil may be the key.

Dr Alyson Mitchell, a food chemist at the University of California, and colleagues measured the amount of two flavonoids - quercetin and kaempferol - in dried tomato samples that had been collected as part of a long-term study on agricultural methods.

They found that on average they were 79% and 97% higher respectively in the organic tomatoes than in the conventionally grown fruit.

New Scientist magazine reported that the different levels of flavonoids in tomatoes are probably due to the absence of fertilisers in organic farming.

Flavonoids are produced as a defence mechanism that can be triggered by nutrient deficiency, such as a lack of nitrogen in the soil.

The inorganic nitrogen in conventional fertiliser is easily available to plants and so, the researchers suggests, the lower levels of flavonoids are probably caused by over-fertilisation.

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Functional hype? Are functional foods just hype or based on sound nutrition science?

Posted by Richard at July 5, 2007 10:25 AM


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