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Organic food and health

Authors: Glibowski, P. (2020)


The popularity of organic foods grows systematically. In the last decade, several critical reviews and meta-analysis concerning organic food consumption and their effect on some chosen health problems have been published. The aim of the work was to present the current state of knowledge regarding the influence of organic food consumption on human health. On average, organic food of plant origin is characterized by a trace presence of pesticides, a lower content of nitrates and an increased content of polyphenols and vitamin C. Organic products of animal origin contain more beneficial for health unsaturated fatty acid. Organic dairy products, in contrast to meat products, are characterized by a higher content of protein and saturated fatty acids, however, the differences more result from the length of the grazing period and access to fresh forage than to the production system. Although generally, the consumption of organic food does not provide a significant nutritional advantage compared to a conventional diet, regular and frequent consumption of organic products generally reduces the risk of overweight and obesity, both for women and men, as well as non-Hodgkin lymphoma in case of women. Besides those, consumption of organic fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products significantly reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnancy and eczema in infants, respectively. Positive effect on selected health problems probably results from a reduced amount of pesticide residues and an increased secondary plant metabolites intake which characterize organic food. This review showed that there is a need for further, especially, large cohort studies concerning the effect of organic food consumption on specific diseases development.


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