Heritage Garden · Organic farming · Science and your health

Organic Tomatoes have high antioxidant values

that organically grown tomatoes have more antioxidants

Eating tomatoes regularly is good for your health as well as your palate. Most of the nutritional interest in the tomato has been because it contains  the antioxidant lycopene .

Now scientists  belonging to the   the University of Barcelona’s Natural Antioxidant Group in Spain have shown that organically grown  tomatoes  contain more antioxidants than tomatoes grown on conventional farms. These antioxidants are known as polyphenols. Natural polyphenols give fruits and vegetables their characteristic  colors. They are also said to have powerful health benefits by acting as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

The researchers  undertook the studies on a tomatoes variety called Daniela purchased in  in the market and found 34 polyphenolic compounds . The same group has previously published results showing that organic tomato juice and ketchup contain higher polyphenols than juice and ketchup made from conventionally grown tomatoes.

The difference in polyphenol content is due to the different  fertilizers and pesticides  used in the two types of farming methods. In conventional farms inorganic fertilizers and pesticides are used where the plants grow very fast and all pests are attempted to be destroyed. Organic famers use  manure, compost and other natural products and practices to provide nutrients and protection. The disadvantage in the latter method  is that  plants are not protected from all pests. But this forces the plants to increase their own defense mechanism thereby producing more polyphenols.

Polyphenols continue to be of great nutritional interest. They have been reported in the scientific  literature as having antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticarcinogenic properties. Polyphenols are also thought to improve mental functions such as cognition, memory, intelligence, motivation, attention and concentration. However, when ingested in the human body polyphenols, unlike in controlled laboratory tube conditions, are poorly conserved and mostly excreted quickly.

Reference: Anna Vallverdú-Queralt, Olga Jáuregui, Alexander Medina-Remón, Rosa Maria Lamuela-Raventós. Evaluation of a Method To Characterize the Phenolic Profile of Organic and Conventional Tomatoes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2012; 60 (13): 3373 DOI: 10.1021/jf204702f

Nirmal Shah

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