Stronger Immune System
Evidence suggests that consuming these foods may reduce your exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria (11Trusted Source).
One study found that levels of cadmium, an extremely toxic metal, were 48% lower in organic produce. In addition, pesticide residues were four times more likely to be found in non-organic crops (6Trusted Source).
It is important to note that the higher levels of cadmium and pesticide residue in conventionally grown produce were still well below safety limits (14Trusted Source).
However, some experts worry that cadmium can accumulate over time in the body, potentially causing harm. Washing, scrubbing, peeling and cooking food can reduce these chemicals, although it doesn't always remove them completely (15Trusted Source).
Nevertheless, evidence suggests that the risk of exposure to pesticide residue in foods is small and unlikely to cause harm (16).
Since organic farming does not use antibiotics in animals, these products generally contain slightly lower levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Choosing organic foods may reduce your exposure to toxins, pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, the levels of toxins in regular produce are generally well below the safety limits.
Do Organic Foods Have Health Benefits?
There is some evidence suggesting that organic foods have health benefits.
For example, several lab studies found that their higher antioxidant content helped protect cells from damage. And animal studies show that organic diets may benefit growth, reproduction and the immune system (7).
One study also reported that chickens fed an organic diet showed reduced weight gain, and had stronger immune systems (19Trusted Source).
Observational studies in humans have linked organic foods to a lower risk of allergies and eczema in children and infants (7, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
A large observational study of 623,080 women found no difference in cancer risk between those who never ate organic food and those who ate it regularly (22Trusted Source).
Another study found that antioxidant levels were higher in men following an organic diet. However, this study was small and not randomized (23Trusted Source).
When 16 people followed an organic or conventional diet over two 3-week periods, those on the organic diet had slightly higher levels of certain antioxidants in their urine. Yet this study also had limitations that may have caused the differences (24Trusted Source).