Health Benefits of Organic Foods Vs. Processed Foods

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Organic foods are grown or raised without chemical pesticides, antibiotics or hormones, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Organic farmers take advantage of natural methods of fertilizing soil and controlling weeds and insects. Certain organic foods, such as milk and tomatoes, may contain health benefits that make these organic foods a healthier choice than their processed or conventional counterparts.

Increased Vitamin Content

Some organic foods contain more vitamins than processed foods, according to Organic Facts. For example, organic milk contains more vitamins than non-organic milk. Organic milk is believed to be of better quality because the cows that produce it eat a better diet, which includes grazing for large parts of the day. Organic fruits and vegetables also tend to contain more vitamins than processed ones, according to nutritionist Shane Heaton.

Increased Antioxidant Content

Not only do many organic foods contain more vitamins than processed foods, they also contain more antioxidants, according to Organic Facts. A University of California Davis study found that organically-raised tomatoes had higher concentrations of the antioxidants quercetin and kaempferol, both of which may protect the body against certain diseases by helping promote cell health. The researchers at the University of California Davis believe that organic foods contain more antioxidants because plants create antioxidants in order to defend themselves from plant-eating insects. Conventionally raised plants do not need to produce as many antioxidants because any plant-eating insects that might prey on them are controlled with insecticide.

Lower Chemical Residues

Because organic foods must be raised and processed without insecticides, herbicides or similar chemicals, the finished product available in the store usually contains fewer of these chemicals than processed foods, according to Heaton. Although many pesticide residues may be harmless to humans, people who are sensitive to others may experience symptoms that can be alleviated by reducing the amount of conventionally processed food in the diet.