Organic food is considered by some to be healthier and more nutritious than its conventional counterpart. But what about when that food is fermented? Does organic vs. conventional matter?
A new study reveals some surprising results: when it comes to fermented foods, “the quality of organic food is not always better than conventional food.”
Organic vs. conventional agricultural production is a hotly debated topic – some reports indicate organic food is more nutritious, but other research suggests the nutritional differences are not significant. Meanwhile, fermented foods are scientifically-proven to include higher nutritional value. “During fermentation, the concentration of many bioactive compounds increases, and the bioavailability of iron, vitamin C, beta carotene, or betaine is also improved,” the study notes. Fermented products also “inhibit the development of pathogens in the digestive tract.”
Researchers at the Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology in Poland questioned whether fermenting organic food would change its nutritional output versus using conventional food. Their results were published in the journal Molecules.
Analyzing fermented plants (pickles, sauerkraut, beet and carrot juices) and dairy (yogurt, kefir and buttermilk), researchers measured the vitamins, minerals and lactic acid bacteria in the items. They compared using organic ingredients in one group to products made from conventional ingredients.
“Research results do not clearly indicate which production system–conventional or organic–provides higher levels of bioactive substances in fermented food,” the study reads.
Results were mixed. Lactic acid bacteria – the good, healthy kind – were higher in organic sauerkraut, carrot juice, yogurt and kefir. Organic kraut and pickles produced more vitamin C than conventional versions. And calcium levels were higher in yogurt made with organic milk.
But, interestingly, lactic acid bacteria levels were higher in conventional pickles and beet juice. Conventional beet juice also had five times more beta-carotene (vitamin A).
Read more (Molecules)