New York : Organic tomatoes have been found to contain higher levels of a certain type of antioxidant that may offer protection from high blood pressure and heart disease than conventionally grown ones, says a US study.
Researchers of the University of California measured the amount of the antioxidant called flavonoids in dried tomato samples of both organic and non-organic varieties as part of a long-term study on agricultural methods.
The scientists found that the level of flavonoids present in organic tomatoes was much higher than those that were conventionally grown, the online edition of BBC News reported.
Flavonoids have earlier been shown to reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. The antioxidants have also been linked with reduced rates of certain types of cancer and dementia.
The difference in levels of flavonoids in the organic and non-organic tomatoes were probably due to the absence of fertilisers in organic farming, the scientists were quoted as saying in the latest issue of New Scientist.
Said Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director: "We welcome the rapidly growing body of evidence that shows significant differences between the nutritional composition of organic and non-organic food."
The US Food Standards Agency (FSA) says there is some evidence that flavonoids can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease but they are currently carrying out a study to look at the health benefits in detail.