On organic vs conventional food and cancer
Incl. tips how to eat organic "on the cheap"
by copyright Healing Cancer Naturally, © 2004 & 2016
For a detailed eye-opening write-up on conventional husbandry and rising cancer incidence, read this revealing article outlining ”what may well be a simple, supremely effective, and completely natural cancer cure”.
The basic advantage of organically grown foods over those grown conventionally can be summed up as "more nutrition (vitamins, minerals, secondary plant compounds...) and less toxins (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, GMO etc.) ".
Much research has been directed at the more recent kids on the block - the so-called secondary plant compounds and their potential role in cancer prevention and health promotion.
Flavonoids are secondary plant compounds belonging to the group of the polyphenols. Flavonoids are the polyphenols most commonly found in foodstuffs, with cancer-preventative effects being ascribed to them. In one nutritional study, Danish scientists found that the ingestion of ecological (organic) foods versus conventionally grown foods resulted in a higher intake of flavonoids. (Grinder-Pedersen et al.: "Effect of Diets Based on Foods from Conventional versus Organic Production on Intake and Excretion of Flavonoids and Markers of Antioxidative Defense in Humans" published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2003.)
While former studies had only addressed individual flavonoids, this study analysed the intake and excretion of five flavonoids. ‘The organic diet was found to contain significantly higher levels of the antioxidant quercetin, which was detected in significantly higher concentrations in the urine of those eating the organic diet.’ The authors concluded that ‘the growing conditions of fruits and vegetables (conventional vs organic) affected the content of five selected flavonoids and resulted in differences in the urinary excretion of major dietary flavonoids.’"
The fact that ecologically produced fruit and vegetables exhibit higher phenolic contents than conventionelly grown produce has been previously proved (such as by Asami et al. : "Comparison of the total Phenolic and Ascorbic Acid Content of Freeze-Dried and Air-Dried Marionberry, Strawberry, and Corn Grown Conventional, Organic and Sustainable Agricultural Practices" published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).
The study’s authors presume that one of the reasons for the higher phenol content may be the absence of pesticides in organic husbandry. The function of secondary plant compounds is to help plants to naturally repel insects, fungi and bacteria. Conventionally grown produce due to the use of pesticides requires less of these natural ”antibodies”.
For the same reason, in terms of health-promoting phenols, you are likely to get even higher quantities by including wild herbs into your menu (make sure to only gather them from clean areas as far away from traffic and conventionally used agricultural land as possible).
Some scientific references re flavonoids and cancer (among 15500+ listed in the biomedical database PubMed in November 2016):
- The antitumor activities of flavonoids: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/16097445
- Review of anticancer mechanisms of isoquercitin. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27081641
- Quercetin induces necrosis and apoptosis in SCC-9 oral cancer cells: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/16573383
Organic vs. non-organic foods: statistically significant differences confirmed
Researchers at Newcastle university recently undertook meta-analyses of 343 peer-reviewed publications to determine whether there were significant nutritional differences between organic and conventionally grown foods. Among other findings, antioxidants such as polyphenolics (phenolic acids, flavanones, flavones, flavonols, stilbenes and anthocyanins) were found to be substantially higher in organic foods. See "Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses" published in the British Journal of Nutrition (2014). Abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/24968103 and free full text at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4141693/ .
Suggestions on how to cheaply incorporate organic produce into your diet, even when you don’t have a garden
- Buy bulk quantities of various organically grown seeds (sunflower, cress etc.) and then sprout them which typically increases their nutritional value manyfold. Use the sprouts in salads, blended into a smoothie etc. Make sure to properly store your seeds to avoid molding, mold is a proven cause of cancer.
- Ask shop owners to make you a deal when you buy larger amounts at once (don't be afraid to haggle).
- Many stores or market stall owners greatly reduce their wares in the evening, shortly before closing time or the weekend. Depending on the store, one can make huge savings simply by shopping at the right time.
- Grow your own tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini/courgettes and pumpkins on your window sill.
- Grow your own herbs in pots and liberally add them fresh to meals.
- Shop around, you may find that there are vast price differences in various shops, I know one health food store which actually offers certain organic vegetables cheaper than the pesticide-laden variety on sale in discount stores.
- Shop online, often the same item can be found cheaper on the internet than in a brick-and-mortar store.
- Find and join an organic food cooperative where you live. Buying in this way which cuts out the middleman can save large amounts of money.
- Learn about and gather edible wild plants (there are hundreds of them). To collect them, go out into unspoiled nature (or at least as far away as possible from man-made pollution such as industry and car traffic). Ironically, as mentioned above, wild herbs can be even healthier than organically grown produce, in fact some boast amazing medicinal properties. See for instance the broad range of scientifically established medicinal effects of nettles and dandelion as well as Urtica membranacea cancer cure (a German physician successfully used stinging nettles for healing benign and malignant tumors) and Cure testimony: terminal lung cancer with metastases healed via detoxification with wild herb cocktails and raw foods).
- Some may need to learn to prioritize and put first things first. Healthy food is a number one priority particularly for those who are already sick. So spending on healthy food should be considered more important than spending on other less indispensable, frivolous or even noxious items.
- Last but not least for those who truly depend on nonorganic produce, there are webpages such as www.ewg.org/foodnews/ who provide a list of fruits and vegetables which are best and worst regarding pesticide content. Make sure to find a list relevant to your country of residence.
Pesticides and cancer
Conventiional pesticides, herbicides and fungicides of course are not allowed in organic farming. Guy-Claude Burger who healed himself of cancer (diagnosed at age 26) by his self-developed ”instinctive” all-raw organic diet (see sunfood.net/anopsology_1.html) writes in "Instinctothérapie, Manger Vrai". ”Very serious present-day scientific studies have demonstrated that pesticidal residue disrupts enzymatic activity. It also has toxic, carcinogenic effects. At this point, science is now siding with the standard-bearers of organic farming.” See Pesticides.
Organic food alone is not the be-all and end-all of a healthy diet
Compare e.g. Chlorine dangers: “Cancer-fighting nutrients become deadly when combined with chlorinated tap water”, Rising atmospheric CO2 decreases micronutrients in plants world-wide and of course the entire Nutrition and Supplements sections.
Thoughts on food as energy - or another reason why organic is better
As we all know, at its most basic level everything is made up of various types of energy - including food.
I believe by choosing organic food as much as possible (or growing it ourselves including some herbs on the window sill) we not only avoid pesticides and ingest a balanced mineral/trace element spectrum and higher vitamin & nutrient content while showing that we care about the soil and earth we live on, but we also ingest "positive" energies. These are the positive energy and vibrations of people who care about the earth, animals and human beings by choosing not to poison them or, as do conventional farmers, only think in terms of short-term profit without regard for long-term consequences for soil, earth, animals, plants and humans...
There are "image-producing" methods for evaluating food quality (such as copper chloride biocrystallization etc., originally developed by the anthroposophists if memory serves), which consistently show harmonious and beautiful patterns created by extracts of organically grown foods versus inharmonious and unstructured patterns created by extracts of conventionally grown food...
So I feel that eating foods (energies) thus produced can only have a positive effect on health on all levels... In this sense, food nourishes the spirit as well as the body (inseparable in any case)...
- Rising atmospheric CO2 decreases micronutrients in plants world-wide
- Chlorine dangers: “Cancer-fighting nutrients become deadly when combined with chlorinated tap water”