Conventional agriculture, which depends on heavy applications of
chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides and irrigation, may inhibit
plants’ natural production of cancer-fighting flavonoids, while
organic agriculture, which does not use synthetic pesticides or
chemical fertilizers, may actually promote the production of flavonoids.
Flavonoids are plant by-products believed to protect the plant
from insects, bacterial and fungal infection and photo-oxidation.
These plant chemicals are also thought to be useful in preventing
cancer and heart disease and combating age-related neurological
Flavonoids work by protecting the cell against damage caused by
active oxygen radicals. Oxygen radicals can cause cancer and are
also associated with cardiovascular disease and age-related nerve
In studies comparing conventional farming with organic and sustainable
(environmentally sound) farming of berries and corn, organic and
sustainable produce was significantly higher in flavonoids than
Although previous studies did not evaluate flavonoids, results
indicated that conventionally produced foods had higher levels of
nitrates and synthetic pesticides and fewer total solids than organic
The natural compounds showed various functions in the cell, including
the potential to kill cancer cells or prevent them from spreading.
Using plant chemicals in the treatment of cancer could enhance cure
rates if combined with standard treatment methods, according to
Other studies have shown that flavonoids have protective effects
against cardiovascular disease and cancer, although separate studies
have found that the compounds have no effect, and a few have suggested
they could have harmful effects.
Plant chemicals may also be useful in combating age-related neurological
dysfunctions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s
disease, which are associated with long-term oxidative stress.
There is substantial evidence to suggest that flavonoids, which
are more plentiful in organic than conventional foods, are effective
in the fight against cancer, heart disease and age-related neurological
dysfunction. Additionally, increasing evidence indicates that organic
farming gives high yields and is more beneficial to the environment
than conventional farming.
According to researchers, supporters of genetically modified foods
often deny or ignore this large body of evidence.
Agricultural Food Chemistry February 26, 2003;51(5):1237-41