Organic foods have gained prominence over the last 20 years. Since then, a lot has been written and said. However, the organic vs. non-organic food debate doesn’t seem to end soon.
According to a recent survey, the global organic food sale amounts to around 122 billion US dollars. The farms cultivating organic foods constitute about 7.8 million hectares worldwide. These towering numbers prove that the organic food market is here to stay. But are they as nutritious as the hype? Let’s find out.
Difference between organic and conventional (non-organic) foods?
What are organic foods?
We know that pesticides and fertilizers improve plant health. These are used in all kinds of farming methods. However, when the farmer decides not to use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and opt for natural ones, he produces organic foods. Yet, some non-toxic fertilizers are allowed in organic foods.
Organic Food is not limited to producing fertilizer-free plants. There is a wide section of meat, too, labeled organic. Now, if you are wondering how meat can be organic, then let us clarify it. It is the way of nurturing animals that determines the quality of meat. If the animals have grazed on farms cultivating organic foods, their meat is also categorized as a form of organic food.
Apart from organic farm grazing, these animals are also left unbonded, outside the cages for maximum periods, and not nurtured on growth hormones.
What is Conventional food?
Conventional Food refers to food that is grown using synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. The conventional food growing methods induce a lot of chemicals into the food. A recent study reveals, eating 1 apple may import around 30 types of pesticides into your body.
For animals breeding in conventional ways, farmers inject growth hormones and antibiotics for weight gain and safety from diseases.
Organic vs. Conventional foods: Methods of Farming
As stated earlier, organic foods are devoid of synthetics. So, how do organic farmers ensure better harvest?
Organic farming pursues the usage of environment-friendly methods for the production of organic foods. Several plant and animal-based natural fertilizers such as compost, alfalfa, soybean meal, seaweed, rock phosphate, etc., can improve the quality of organic farming. The organic farms rely on sustainable ways of growing crops such as-
- Crop rotation
- Cover crops
- Farming both livestock and plants
- Agroforestry practices
- Eliminating tillage or at least reducing it
In contrast to organic foods, conventional foods are borne using multiple artificial pesticides and fertilizers like DDT. The livestock is injected with growth hormones and provided Food that aims at weight gain rather than organic flourishing.
Are organic foods healthy for the human body?
Do you know?
- Eating 1 apple can transport 30 types of pesticides into your body
- ● A handful of grapes have around 27 types of pesticides
The numbers will increase with all the conventional (non-organic) food you have. Though there is a claim saying that preservation is the cause of these pesticides, yet it is a truth that pesticides are part of the harvest and are sunk deep into the food products.
Take a look at all the hazards pesticides can do to your body
- Respiratory illness
- Damage to the immune system
- Chances of cancer
- Organ diseases
- Nervous system disorders
- Adverse impact on infant health at both mental and physical levels
- Harm the fetus in case of pregnant women
- Cause skin diseases and various allergies
- Irritation and burning in nose and eyes
Prolonged use of pesticides is harmful and causes severe health concerns. Hence, it is wise to opt out before late.
Here is how organic foods help to enhance your health.
Organic Food has more Nutrients
The use of excessive pesticides can destroy nutrients in Food. Before being toxic, it is removing every trace of health from the food item.
Because organic foods do not use chemical pesticides at any stage of growth, they are also laden with existing nutrients. If you consume a fruit harvested organically, your body is more likely to absorb its nutrients and improve your overall health.
Organic Food has more Vitamins
The organic methods of farming help organic foods to retain the vitamins and minerals without abolishing these. This is why organic foods are the powerhouse of many vitamins. It is stated that organic foods contain 58% more vitamins than non-organic foods.
Minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus are also abundant in organic produce along with Vitamin A, B1, B2, C and E.
Organic Food has more Antioxidants
Conventional foods do not require protection against threats as they are regularly treated with pesticides and fertilizers. However, organic foods build their shield against hazards. Hence, there are higher levels of antioxidants in organic foods.
Few pieces of research emphasize organic foods to have 69% more antioxidants than the conventional counterparts. The prominent antioxidants in organic foods are anthocyanins, flavonoids, and carotenoids that are fabulous for our health.
Organic Food has low Nitrate levels
Excessive nitrates in food adversely affect the human body. It can cause severe problems such as erratic blood pressure, heart diseases, stroke, and even cancer. It can also affect infants and cause a condition called methemoglobinemia. Farming methods such as excessive pesticides and lack of adequate sunlight are major causes of high nitrate.
With organic foods, there is an assurance of less nitrate as they use sustainable methods of farming. Studies state that there is a 30% shortage in nitrate levels as compared to non organic foods.
Organic Food lowers the risk of allergies
Children are more susceptible to allergies. Most of them have to tackle these in their fetal stage itself. It is the outcome of diets pursued by pregnant mothers. Recently, doctors in Holland closely looked into the diets of 120 pregnant ladies and carefully studied children to understand the outcome of organic foods in infants.
The results did confirm that organic foods lower the risk of allergies. However, the benefit was subjective as not all organic foods may be instrumental in reducing the risk of allergies. In the study, doctors found organic milk to benefit kids tackling allergies, while all other organic foods seemed non receptive.
Organic Food improves Heart health
The absorption of sunlight is a key element of nutrients in organic foods. Since they are grown sustainably and have all ways to imbibe the natural light, they are high in CLA, i.e., conjugated linoleic acid, an element necessary for heart health.
Plants and animals grown through organic farming methods are high at CLA. When one consumes dairy, meat, etc., the CLA is transported into the body, providing a shield to the heart from the organically nourished animals.
Organic Food enhances immunity
Pesticide usage focuses on the increase in yield. In a small stretch of land, farmers tend to produce lots of crops and attain higher profits. However, the people consuming these experience the downfall in the long run. The immune system is primarily affected by pesticides, and one loses the capacity to fight diseases.
Organic farming is primarily to attain good health. Hence these products do not have any disadvantage. Further, the involvement of higher nutrients and vitamins builds a robust immune system.
Organic Food (livestock) has more fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient that shields our body from various diseases. With regular intake of foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, one can combat depression, ADHD, heart diseases, asthma, arthritis, and gestational development.
The dairy and meat obtained from organic livestock have a higher amount of omega 3 fatty acids due to the sustainable methods. Almost 67 studies confirm the fact that intake of organic foods ensures better heart health.
Organic Food is tastier
What is the use of all the above health benefits if the Food you consume is not tasty? In the case of organic foods, you can ensure a fresh and tasty meal.
Since there is no pesticide involved in producing organic foods, these cannot be stored for longer periods. Hence, when one comes across organic foods, it is sure to be fresh or straight out of the farm, as the popular word states. It will, by all means, be fresh, tasty, and healthy.
How to choose organic foods?
Nowadays, people are aware of organic food benefits. They seek these during their purchases. But with increased demand is also a chance to be duped. Everything with an organic label may not provide you similar benefits as there are different certifications with the various processes.
Here is a guide to help with your next organic food purchase.
Read the label carefully to see the organic certification. Here is what each of the seals means.
100% Organic Foods- The product is the outcome of nourishment with 100% organic methods.
Organic Foods– The product is not 100% organic, but it is still produced in a sustainable environment with a few approved chemicals that are non-toxic to humans. It also means that the product is around 90 to 95% organic.
Made with organic foods- The category is around 70% organic and contains some permissible components for high yield.
When purchasing organic foods, ensure to purchase in the respective season. Otherwise, you will end up buying stored food products in the name of organic.
Organic foods are highly priced due to their complicated methods of cultivation. It is a labor-intensive process to harvest a 100% organic yield. However, multiple devoted companies are urging to carry forward organic produce to provide people with fresh and healthy foods. By consuming organic foods, you make a slight change today to give yourself and your family a healthier tomorrow.