Organic food has become very popular in a few years. People are switching to organic food due to lots of claims made by those foods.
It may be controversial to hear that the food we currently eat aren’t as healthy as we think.
Organic foods are grown without the use of any synthetic pesticides, a bioengineered gene (GMOs), sewage-based fertilizers, and petroleum-based fertilizers.
Organic livestock should have access to outdoor and fed on organic food, and should not be given growth hormones, antibiotics, or any animal-by-products.
Let’s explore the benefits of organic foods
1. Nutrient Rich
People are switching towards organic foods due to the fact of Organic foods are rich in nutrients compared to conventional foods. Organic foods are said to be rich in nutrients yet some say they aren’t any superior to non-organic foods. The mere fact is that major of scientific research is based on the funding provided by the government and industry.
There is a mix conclusion over the nutrient content of organic foods. FDA and USDA clearly mention that non-organic food is as healthy as organic foods. However, there are studies that have proved organic tomatoes, organic milk, organic onion have better nutrition content compared to non-organic. (1)
A food nutrition level depends on the stressful environment. Plant produce nutrients to resist harsh conditions, so the nutrition value is higher in plant going through the stressful condition. As they need more nutrients to survive, they produce more nutrients.
Organic crops are grown on organic fertilizers such as decayed matter, which release nitrogen slowly than do synthetic fertilizer.
While to fight pest, organic plants have to depend on their own to defensive ability and their nutrients, so they produce more nutrients.
Organic plants yield a small fruit so each fruit is filled with dense nutrients and better flavor compared to larger fruit in non-organic plants.
A study from Brazil suggests organically grown tomatoes are more nutritious in some ways than the conventionally grown variety. The results show that organically grown tomato was smaller, have a higher level of vitamin C as well as more plant phenols, a class compounds that act as antioxidants, than do conventionally grown tomatoes. The taste of organically tomatoes differs. (2)
Antioxidants are good for health and help in reducing heart diseases and the risk of developing cancer. Along with these diseases, high antioxidants in food is responsible for better immunity with less food.
The real reason for the change of nutrition value is not yet confirmed but there are many more reason to prefer organic food which you will learn later.
The nutritional value of milk will be proportional to the nutrient intake of the cow. Better the nutrition intake and better the environment it gets to pasture, the nutritional value of cow’s milk will be better. (3)
Over the last century, intakes of omega-6 fatty acids in Western diets has increased while Omega-3 fatty intake has fallen. Dairy products intake has increased thus increasing the saturated fat intake in the United States and Europe. Due to this reason, it was recommended to limit consumption of whole milk and other high-fat dairy products, in favor of the low-and non-fat dairy product.
What was the exact problem?
The recommendation to limit milk was based on the LDL cholesterol-raising effect of dairy products. When a cow is fed on pasture, they get a good amount of Omega 3 and other nutrients, thus increasing the nutritional value of milk. Due to this reason, organic milk contains 62% more Omega-3 fatty acids and 25% less Omega-6 compared to conventional milk.
Conventional cows are fed on corn and other crops containing high Omega-6 thus increasing the Omega-6 value of milk.
We get a good amount of Omega-6 fatty acids from other food sources thus creating an imbalance in Omega3 and Omega 6, and the cause of health problem.
Researchers found that organic onions had more antioxidant content than conventionally grown onions, as per a six-year study by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. (4)
Analysis attributes that the flavonoid content increase in the organic onions primarily to the difference in the soil management and pest control practice.
Under organically farmed conditions, the plant experiences more stress – without synthetic pesticides, the microbial attacks increases.
Plants generate secondary metabolites such as anthocyanin and quercetin as a defensive mechanism. Studies on these compounds have shown to protect against chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Meat & Egg:
American Heart Association suggest limiting the intake of saturated fat as it increases the risk of heart disease. Industrially raised animals are fed on corn, hormone, and medication thus impacting their nutrition value.
The healthier food a hen and cow feed better will be their nutritional value.
When the cow pasture on an open grass field, they receive healthier nutrients so their meat has low saturated fat, the same case is with hens meat and egg,
The nutritional value of organic crops depends on many reasons like:
1. Under stress without any supports from artificial fertilizer and pesticides, the plant produces more antioxidants to withstand the harsh environment.
2. Organic crops are fresh as they are locally grown, thus lose less nutrient.
Whatever may be the reason but the improvement in nutritional value is a reason to try.
If not then the second reason will be a great turner to choose organic food.
2. Lower Pesticides and Heavy Metals
One of the major reason consumer prefers to choose organic food is the presence of pesticides in non-organic foods. Pesticides are required to protect crops from the attack by natural-world, including bugs. These pesticides do a great work of keeping the pests away from the crops, but they are composed of powerful chemicals.
Consumptions of chemical pesticides through foods is linked to a variety of diseases and disorders namely cancers digestive dysfunctions, headaches, ADHD, birth defects, weakened immune system, and premature death.
Organophosphorous: A unnatural compound not required by humans, but more than 80% if this material in our bodies comes from pesticides-coated foods. Organophosphorous has been connected to a number of developmental problems, including autism and ADHD.
Cadmium: Studies have confirmed that organic crops have 48% lower levels of the toxic metal cadmium than conventional crops.
Glyphosate: Women exposed to higher glyphosate level during pregnancy had babies born earlier and with lower adjusted body weights. Premature birth and small size may lead to serious health problems later in life, from low IQ to greater risk of serious diseases, and the outcomes may be even more severe for the following generation. These exposures have to stop in order to protect the health of children. (5)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has revealed that nearly 30 percent of the more than 3,000 foods they tested contain glyphosate. (6)
This included nearly 37 percent of grain products, 47 percent of bean/pea/lentil products and more than 30 percent of infant food and cereal. Even 7 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables contained the residues. Eating nonorganic genetically engineered (GE) foods (the prime candidates for Roundup spraying) is associated with higher glyphosate levels in your body. (7)
There are pesticide residues that remain in the food even after it’s washed.
3. Better Immunity
As mentioned earlier, the nutritional content of organic food is higher compared to those of conventional food. Increasing the food production surely provided enough food to solve some hunger problem, but the nutritional profile of food had the impact.
To get the same benefits of organic food, you need to add more food. With the loss of nutrient, the nutrient required for immunity reduced thus it had an impact on immunity.
When you eat organic food free of pesticides and fertilizer, those plants have to work hard and produce more nutrients to survive, ending up with higher nutritional value. So when you eat those organic foods you get higher nutrient.
4. Heart Health
Organic food is even good for heart health.
Grass grazing increases the amount of CLA (conjugated linoleum acid), found in animals.
CLA is heart health-boosting nutrients that provide protection from cardiovascular disease. When you eat milk or meat of animal raised in cage-free or free-range, you receive a higher amount of CLA.
The problem with caged animals is with the feed they receive. Those animals receive grains – responsible for increased saturated fat but a low amount of healthy CLA.
Organic egg, meat, and milk can have 50% more Omega 3 fatty acids and less saturated fatty acids than non-organic.
Rather than the nutrient value, you might have complained about the taste of conventional food.
The reason you should prefer organic food is their richness in taste and flavor. As organic food are produced locally you will get fresher produce. The less time it takes from farm to plate, the better nutrition and taste retention.
Fresh produce tastes better than food imported from miles away.
To transport food for 1000s mile, raw foods are picked – limiting it nutrition and natural taste. If you have complained of the food taste, try organic foods for a while and check whether you like it. Switching to organic food will be a great choice and you won’t quit once you get the taste of food that a fully ripe produce contains.
By eating locally grown produce you receive nutrients-rich and fresh food which is also rich in natural taste and flavor.
Disadvantages of Organic Food
Along with lots of benefits, while choosing organic foods, there are a few disadvantages.
1. Organic food doesn’t last long
Due to the lack of preservatives, organic food spoils quicker. If you choose the organic food you have to shop frequently and there can be some food wastage. But it is not that big deal, as you eat food free of preservatives, you and your family receive better nourishment.
2. They can be expensive
The second concern with organic food is its cost. If you completely switch to organic food, it will cost you higher than conventional foods.
3. Confusion over a good variety of food
In the beginning, you will find tough to find the best organic food supplier. You can go to Whole Food in your neighborhood.
Farmer’s market can be a good place. You can talk to them to learn more about how they grow their produce.
You can try a few of steps to buy organic food in the budget
- Eat with season
- Buy in bulk
- Buy frozen when possible
- Stick to Wholefood
When you choose organic foods, you choose to save medical expense. The quality of food is responsible for better health, and better health can save lots of money. Switching from food loaded with pesticides and fertilizers to organic you reduce the risk of diseases and increase longevity.