With some debate flying around about the benefits of eating organic over commercially farmed products, a study has been conducted that tested both kinds of food on the humble fruit fly.
The study found the flies given an organic diet had greater fertility and longevity than those who survived on a diet of commercially grown food. Some flies even reported greater activity and improved stress resistance.
The flies – drosophila melanogaster – have been used in studies in the past to successfully investigate other biological issues such as genetics and developmental biology.
This evidence suggests organically grown food may provide benefits for animals’ overall health, and might also benefit humans.
Organic produce has increased levels of vitamins, carotenoids, polyphenols and unsaturated fatty acids.
So, it is no wonder these flies showed improved performance in most of the study’s tests. Researchers also noted the positive results for longevity and fertility, saying these are the most important life history traits of an animal and indicate whether they are in good health.
While organic meat was not included in the study, there is still evidence it is more nutritious than its commercially produced counterpart.
Organic beef and lamb is free from harmful pesticides and antibiotics, yet full of important nutrients such as iron, omega-3, and zinc, and antioxidants important for heart health.
The jury is still out on whether pesticides and additional hormones are bad for health, as many haven’t been in use long enough to accurately measure their long term effects. With that in mind, you might want to stick to organic options – just in case.
Grass-fed beef also has benefits including a lower fat content, increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids, more conjugated linoleic acid and higher amounts of antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin E compared to its commercial alternative.