Does eating “organic” lead to a reduced incidence of cancer?

Does eating “organic” really make you healthier? French research has revealed an interesting correlation.

 Dr. med. Martina Frei

16. April 2024

Citrus fruits
Those who ate organic food smoked less, took more exercise and drank less alcohol. ( Photo: Pexels)

Over a period of four and a half years, researchers compared the preferred eating habits of just under 70,000 participants and what caused them to become ill. People who consumed a lot of “organic” food were less likely to develop cancer than those who rarely bought “organic”. In particular, breast cancer after the menopause and cancer of the lymph glands occurred less frequently among high consumers of organic food.

The research does not conclude if the reason for this is really the fact that fruit and vegetables are treated with fewer pesticides or if it is linked to the participants eating “organic” food. People who buy organic products frequently tend to be more health-conscious in other respects as well.

Carcinogenic pesticides 
This was also the case in this particular study: those who ate organic food smoked less, took more exercise and drank less alcohol. Nevertheless, it would seem that “eating organic” does have the effect of preventing cancer.

It is conceivable that the pesticides which are ingested with conventionally grown fruit and vegetables have a slight carcinogenic effect. However, the jury is still out on this issue, especially as an earlier British study found that organic food did not have the effect of preventing cancer.

A healthy diet is key 
For this reason, until further studies have clarified the benefits of “organic”: three commentators advise people to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. This is because, firstly, the positive effects of a healthy diet are likely to outweigh the negative effects of potential pesticide residues. And secondly, not everyone can afford expensive “organic” products.