Everything we put in our mouths can either contribute to our health or damage it. More than ever before, emphasis is put on healthy food choices and proper nutrition.
Customers worldwide question the quality of food offered on the market and check the list of ingredients of the products. We want to get value for money and make certain that we consume natural and nutritious products that do not contain harmful additives. In this respect, organic food has gained popularity and raised a lot of interest in the recent years.
What exactly is organic food and what are its health provisions?
The term “organic” relates to the methods used in the growing, production and raising of agricultural goods and livestock.
Organic crops are grown without any chemical pesticides, fertilizers and genetically modified organisms.
On the other hand, animals from which we obtain organic milk products, eggs and meat are fed in the open fields with organic plants. They must not be treated with any growth-stimulating hormones, antibiotics and chemicals. Organic food has superior quality and multiple health benefits over the conventional one:
- Organic fruits and vegetables do not contain health-damaging chemicals used to destroy insects and prevent crop disease.
- They are naturally fresh since they do not contain artificial preservatives that prolong their shelf life. Organic produce is often grown on local farms and it is sold in the nearby supermarkets, which contributes to its freshness, better taste and nutritional value.
- Organic farming is environmentally friendly and less costly. It saves natural resources and keeps the air and soil clean, thus making the environment safe for all living beings.
- Animals that are raised in an organic way are healthy due to the fact that they are physically active in the open fields and they are not treated with any chemicals or medicines.
- You do not need to worry about the devastating effects GMO can have on your health since their use is strictly prohibited in organic farming and animal raising.
What about the higher cost of organic foods?
It is undisputable that we have to reach deeper in our pockets in order to purchase organic foods.
This is due to the fact that farmers need to work more intensively and attentively since they do not rely on any artificial aids.
Also, organic feed for animals is much more costly than the conventional one. Organic farms are usually smaller, which results in the smaller amount of produce. Certification is also costly to obtain.
What does science say about the difference between organic and non-organic food?
According to the results of the latest international scientific research conducted at the University of Newcastle under the guidance of Prof. Carlo Leifert, the level of health-boosting and disease-preventing antioxidants is from 19 to 69% higher in organic foods than in the conventional ones.
This means that we would gain more health provisions by eating smaller amounts of organic produce than the usual recommended portions.
The higher amount of antioxidants in them is is such that it equals “”one to two of the five portions of fruits and vegetables recommended to be consumed daily and would therefore be significant and meaningful in terms of human nutrition, if information linking these [compounds] to the health benefits associated with increased fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption is confirmed”.
The research also revealed that conventionally grown crops contain much more cadmium, which is a dangerous metal for human consumption. It tends to make deposits in our body, which poses an additional threat for the health. The levels of various pesticides found on them were four times higher than on food grown using organic methods.
This research was published in the renowned British Journal of Nutrition.
Let us illustrate these findings through the example of conventional potatoes
The USDA’s Pesticide Data Program has revealed that conventionally grown potatoes contained 35 various pesticides. 25 of these chemicals are likely to cause cancer, disrupt the hormonal status and are toxic for the nervous system. 6 of them have negative effects on the organ development and the reproductive system.
Chlorpropham is a toxic chemical commonly used to prevent sprouting and growing of weeds in potatoes. Laboratory experiments of this compound on animals have resulted in abnormal liver, kidney and spleen changes, as well as retardation in growth and eventually death. It is also lethal for honey bees.
Potatoes are exposed to extensive chemical treatment in all the stages of growth and even after they have been dug up.
Even potato farmers do not consider their conventionally grown produce safe for consumption and they would never eat them, according to Jeff Moyer, the farm director at the Rodale Institute.
Organic food was once available in stores specialized for healthy food, whereas it is now commonly found at the majority of supermarkets. It is up to each one of us to make a wise decision about our food choices. Is it worth paying a few extra dollars for organic food, bearing in mind all its health benefits? Whatever you decide, please do not forget: you and your children always deserve the very best.