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Are organic tomatoes better for your health?

“Natural tomatoes are packed with more disease-fighting antioxidants,” the Daily Mail reports, going on to say that “it really may pay off to fork out for the more expensive organic produce”.

This news is based on research comparing the amount of chemicals called polyphenols in organic versus non-organic tomatoes. Polyphenols are produced as tomatoes ripen, and the amount of polyphenols tomatoes produce can be affected by growing conditions. Polyphenols are considered to be antioxidants, and it has been suggested that consuming foods high in antioxidants may be good for your health. The researchers thought that because organic tomatoes ripen for longer as they are grown in less nitrogen-rich soil they would contain higher levels of polyphenols.

When the researchers compared the chemical profile of the two types of tomatoes, they found – as expected – that the organic tomatoes contained higher levels of polyphenols than the non-organic tomatoes.

This study suggests that some organic tomatoes contain higher levels of chemicals called polyphenols than “conventionally grown” tomatoes. It does not, however, tell us whether eating organic tomatoes will provide any additional health benefits over eating conventional tomatoes. Nobody ate the tomatoes, so no health outcomes could be measured.

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