Healthy eating is not just about the quantity and type of foods consumed, the source of food and means of production also matter. Modern farming has changed the way we produce food and even altered food composition. In many ways, it has helped augment food supply and support our needs, but there are questions as to its safety and sustainability. This is where organic food comes in.
When we say organic, it actually refers to the process and conditions involved in producing agricultural products. There are certain requirements that need to be met to be labeled as organic which spells the difference between organic and conventional foods. Organic crops are produced without the use of pesticides and are grown with natural fertilizers such as manure and compost while conventional crops are sprayed with pesticides and are fertilized with chemicals. Weeds and insects are controlled through natural methods in organic crops and for conventional crops, herbicides and insecticides are utilized. Organic meat and dairy comes from livestock that were not given antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO or pesticides. Similarly, sources of organic meat, poultry, fish and milk are animals that have the freedom to graze on the grass, live uncaged and consume only organic feeds.
There are several reasons to choose organic over conventional foods, and here are 7 wonderful benefits of going organic:
1. You get better nutrition
Not all nutrients provided by natural fertilizers are found in artificially-produced fertilizers; hence organic foods generate more vitamins and minerals. One study showed that organic fruits and vegetables have more vitamin C, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and polyphenols compared to conventional produce. Polyphenols contained in significant amounts in organic foods protect against allergy, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. In another study which compared the antioxidant content of organic and conventional fruits, higher amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E and antioxidants were found in organic foods. Studies have shown that these antioxidants derived from organic foods have more impact on overall health and in reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Moreover, organic meats are rich in heart-healthy fatty acids and have lower total fat content
2. You consume natural and superior tasting foods
Aside from having higher nutritional quality, organic foods taste better. Organic fruits and vegetables preserve their natural flavor as they are grown in chemical-free conditions and well-nourished soil/. These produce are often locally grown and fresh making them more appealing and delectable.
3. You enjoy higher quality and safer meat, fish and poultry
Animal foods highly contribute to the toxic chemical residues in the diet. These chemicals were accumulated in the tissues of conventional farmed animals because of the food they eat and the way they are raised. When we consume conventional meat and dairy, we become exposed to these harmful substances and at risk to antibiotic resistance, and several diseases including cancer and genetic problems. On the other hand, organic farmed animals are not given harmful chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones. They only eat organic feeds and not animal byproducts, pesticide-laden crops and unnatural compounds. This explains why organic animal products are safer and of higher quality than conventional meat, fish and poultry.
4. You eat foods free from harmful chemicals
Pesticides are poisonous not only for insects and pests but also for humans. Eating conventionally grown foods is like dumping these harmful chemicals into your system. Pesticides can harm the nervous system and cause developmental problems, behavioral disorders, autism and motor dysfunction. There are studies indicating that pesticides even at low doses increase the odds of developing cancer. Exposure to pesticides also causes adverse effects on the immune systems and bodies of children and fetuses. The only way to avoid these harmful substances is to consume only organic foods which are naturally grown and with no trace chemicals.
5. You don’t consume GMOs
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are manipulated source of food. These are plants and animals that have been mutated to be more resistant to pesticides or yield insecticides. Although GMOs are regarded as safe, its long term health effects are still subject of debates and controversies. The safety of GMOs has not been proven by long term studies and results from animal studies indicate that GMO intake damages internal organs, retards brain development and causes thickening of the digestive tract. GMOs have also been linked to poor immune system, allergies, gastrointestinal problems and even cancer. Adopting an biotarian diet is great way to steer clear from GMOs and its associated risks.
6. You help save the environment
Organic farms operate in harmony with nature and with respect for all living organisms. In organic farms, animals are treated in a more humane way and they are raised in natural conditions. No chemicals are used in organic farming which translates to minimal air, soil and water pollution. This method also helps in conserving water and energy, as well as in reducing soil erosion and improving soil quality. In choosing organic foods, you are also promoting animal welfare, environmental safety and sustainable living.
7. You play your part in shaping a better future
Even before babies are born, they are being exposed to harmful chemicals brought about by conventional foods full of toxins and environmental pollution. You can save them by taking the first step to a healthier and safer future. By going organic and following the biotarian lifestyle, you are actually doing a huge favor to the world and for the next generations.