Liberty Planet Weblog

Organic Tomatoes, While Smaller, are More Nutritious than Conventional Counterpart

Posted on: March 25, 2013

By Dr. Mercola

Tomatoes, which are actually a fruit and not a vegetable, contain a number of valuable nutrients, and according to recent research, organically-grown tomatoes are even more nutritious than their conventionally-grown counterparts.

One of the most well-known nutrients in tomatoes is lycopene — the compound that gives tomato its deep red color.

Lycopene is a vital anti-oxidant that has been shown to have potent anti-cancerous activity. This compound is not naturally produced in your body, so it must be supplied via your diet.

Other fruits and vegetables also contain lycopene, but none has the high concentration of lycopene that the tomato boasts.

Interestingly, when cooked, the bioavailability of lycopene increases rather than decreases, as is the case with many other raw foods, as heat has a tendency to destroy valuable nutrients.

That said, you’re best off avoiding canned tomatoes and tomato sauces as can liners tend to contain potent estrogen mimics such as bisphenol A (BPA), which is also a toxic endocrine disrupting chemical. Your best bet is to make your own organic tomato sauce from scratch, or buy organic sauce sold in glass jars.

Organic Tomatoes have 139 Percent Higher Phenolic Content, Study Shows

It seems perfectly sensible that food grown in healthier soil with natural fertilizers and no synthetic agricultural chemicals would be more nutritious. This is common knowledge among farmers, yet this age-old, common sense wisdom is greatly suppressed in the United States in order to protect the large-scale industrial farming model.

According to a recent study published in the journal PLOS One, growing tomatoes according to organic standards results in dramatically elevated phenols content, compared to tomatoes grown conventionally, using agricultural chemicals.

The researchers compared total phenol content in organic and conventional tomatoes grown in nearby plots in Brazil. This allowed for a more accurate comparison of the tomatoes, as both varieties were grown in similar soil- and climate conditions that might otherwise affect nutrient content.

According to the authors:

“This study was conducted with the objective of testing the hypothesis that tomato fruits from organic farming accumulate more nutritional compounds, such as phenolics and vitamin C as a consequence of the stressing conditions associated with farming system.”

The organic tomatoes were found to contain 55 percent more vitamin C, and 139 percent more total phenolic content at the stage of commercial maturity, compared to the conventionally-grown tomatoes. According to the authors:

“[T]his seems consistent with the more than two times higher activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) we observed throughout fruit development in fruits from organic farming.

Taken together, our observations suggest that tomato fruits from organic farming experienced stressing conditions that resulted in oxidative stress and the accumulation of higher concentrations of soluble solids as sugars and other compounds contributing to fruit nutritional quality such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds.”

Today’s Vegetables Aren’t as Nutritious as They Used to Be…

Continue reading at Mercola

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