By Lara Evans Bracciante
Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, June/July 2005.
Rats raised on an organic diet had healthier weights and stronger immunity than those on a conventional diet, according to researchers from the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences and the University of Newcastle. A group of 36 rats were fed a diet consisting of potatoes, carrots, peas, green kale, apples, and rapeseed oil, and supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. However, the rats were split into three categories: those receiving an organic diet with little fertilizer use and no pesticides, those on a diet with minimal fertilizer and pesticide use, and those on a conventional diet with high input of fertilizer and pesticides.
The rats in the first two groups — foods grown organically and with minimal fertilizer and pesticide use — had higher levels of immunoglobulin G and vitamin E, indicating stronger immunity than their counterparts, despite the similar quantities of nutrients given in all three diets. Rats on the organic diet also had lower weights and fat content. Researchers call for further interdisciplinary exploration into the health benefits of organic foods for humans.