American Family Children's Hospital

Are Organic Fruits and Vegetables Better?

Internet Resources

Environmental Working Group

Fruits and VegetablesAll fruits and vegetables contain a wide array of carotenes, polyphenols and other phytochemicals that are important for optimal health and protection against cancer and cardiovascular disease.


Fruits and vegetables also provide many vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health.


Thousands of studies, involving hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, prove that a high intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with improved health. Nearly all of these studies were conducted using non-organic fruits and vegetables.


The increase in organic farming has raised interest in the health benefits of organic fruits and vegetables, particularly with respect to nutrient content and pesticide exposure. Some studies show that organic vegetables do have higher levels of vitamins C and E, iron, magnesium, and some phytochemicals than those grown with conventional methods.


Other studies show no difference.


Studies do show that people who eat organic fruits and vegetables have lower levels of pesticides in their bodies than those who eat non-organic fruits and vegetables.


Bottom line: Eating 8 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day – whether organic or not – protects against cancer and promotes overall health.


If you have access to organic fruits and vegetables, you may reduce your pesticide exposure but it is uncertain how necessary this is in reducing risk of certain types of cancers.


The Environmental Working Group has published information on the pesticide content of commonly-consumed fruits and vegetables.


For more information on the discussion, read Produce: Should You Buy Organic? from the Environmenal Working Group