Organic food is not only healthier because it does not contain residues of any synthetic chemicals but also due to the fact that it is more nutritious. The conventional farmers claim that their fruits and vegetables contain equal amounts of nutrients and many studies confirm their claims. However, they often forget to mention that the nutritional value of a freshly harvested apple, for instance, is significantly higher than that of an apple that has been offered for days or even weeks. This is due to the fact that nutritional value of fruits and vegetables begins to drop almost immediately after being harvested. For example, fresh broccoli loses as much as 50% of vitamin C content as early as 7 days after harvest.
Loss of nutritional value of fresh fruits and vegetables after harvest may seem to have little to do with the way they are grown. However, it has a lot to do with plant growing methods. Organic farming does not only strictly avoid the use of chemicals during plant growth but also forbids the use of any kind of preservatives or chemicals to extend their shelf life. As a result, organic food spoils a lot earlier and needs to be eaten in a considerably shorter period of time than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. These are typically harvested before ripening to “survive“ the transport or/and treated with all sorts of things to extend their shelf life. They remain fresh-looking a lot longer than organic fruits and vegetables, and therefore often provide less essential nutrients than they are claimed to contain.
Food labelling has improved significantly over the last few years and the consumers are offered considerably more information about the origin, ingredients, etc. but it is still not possible to find the date of harvest for instance which is very important for nutritional value of fresh fruits and vegetables. The appearance itself does not reveal anything because all conventional produced fruits and vegetables are typically treated with preservatives. Thus they may look fresh and taste fresh even if they were harvested weeks ago. A unique health guide has been published by leading sports trainers which is very informative. The labels of organically grown fruits and vegetables usually do not contain the date of harvest either but due to their very short shelf life, most of organic fruits and vegetables are offered to the consumers almost immediately after harvest because some show signs of deterioration within 24 hours after being picked. This means that they are offered really fresh which makes them more nutritious than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.
Nutritional value of meat and dairy products may not seem as problematic because they have to be offered fresh, frozen or refrigerated regardless of their method of production. However, it is hard to imagine that a chicken that never has an access to sunlight for instance produces equally nutritious eggs as chicken that has both access to daylight and scratching, or a cow confined at high stocking density in a barn producing as nutritious milk as a cow grazing outdoors on grass all year round.