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Organic food consumers report better general health

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17 Jul 2019

An online, open access questionnaire has revealed that the majority of respondents who consume organic food report a feeling of better general health, including an improved resistance to illness.
Georgina Hines

The potential health effects of organic foods is a relatively unresearched area, with the small number of studies preventing scientists from drawing conclusions on direct health benefits.

The research – published in a paper by the Louis Bolk Institute, the Netherlands – found that the 566 respondents reported feeling more energetic and an improved general resistance to illness (70%), a positive effect on mental wellbeing (30%), better stomach and bowel function (24%), and improved condition of skin, hair and/or nails (19%). Only 30% of respondents reported that they had no perceived health effects.

Fruit and vegetables, dairy products, eggs and grains were most likely to be the organic foods reported in the respondent’s diets, while processed foods, such as ready to eat meals and sweets, were less likely to be organic.

‘Research in which consumers have the opportunity to voice their opinion is a very informative way to gain insight into the experiences of consumers with organic food,’ says the paper. ‘Even though the study design is not suitable to draw any conclusions regarding the question of whether organic is healthier, this information may serve as a basis for generating more clinically relevant hypotheses.

‘This is important to direct future research on organic food and health. All research efforts in this field, each with its specific study designs, help to unravel the knot and increase understanding of the role of nutrition in health.’

This article was originally published in SCI’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.5614

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