When I was a child, I used to observe the farmers growing their crops and vegetables by plowing with simple traditional techniques and using natural manure only. And these crops no doubt were grown in the natural environment without artificial fertilizers and pesticides. These crops had provided us organic foods. And there are many health benefits of eating organic foods.
With the passage of time, advancements in agricultural sciences make farmers more aware and conscious about their crops. They started to use artificial fertilizers and pesticides to enhance crop yield and prevent the crops from pests. But at a later stage, this proved more harmful than the benefits.
Organic foods are gaining popularity not only in the U.S but throughout the world. It is estimated that 5% of total food sales are organic and expected to increase by an average of 6% each year.
Organic foods are really great concept. Every time, you go to buy foods in the supermarket, you see two different shelves one with the label of conventional food while the other one label with organic foods-with a little high price. The choice is yours either go for conventional or organic foods both having the same nutritive values providing the same amount of protein, carbs, fiber, and minerals, etc.
Then why there is so hype about organic foods? Let’s get the facts before picking your food.
What does the term ‘’Organic ‘’or ‘’Organic food’’ mean?
The term ‘’organic’’ refers to the way farmers used to grow and process agricultural products, such as grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products.
According to the ‘’The U.S. Department of Agriculture’’ the term ‘’organic foods’’ refers to that:
- The crops that are produced on farms have not used any artificial fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or herbicides, sewage sludge, and bioengineered genes (GMOs) at least three years before harvesting the crop.
- The organic meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy products must come from animals that are grazed in a natural pasture at least 30% of their nutritional needs, must be fed on organic feed, have given no growth hormones or antibiotics.
Health benefits of eating organic foods
Is organic food better for you? Yes, it is very true to say that organic foods can have a good impact on your mental and emotional health.
Here are some amazing health benefits of eating organic foods.
There is a small to moderate increase in the nutrients in such foods. There are some pieces of evidence that show a higher level of certain nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids than conventional foods.
It has observed that feeding livestock with grass and alfalfa as a primary feed result in an increased level of omega-3 fatty acids in meats, dairy products, and eggs. And these fatty acids are very important for heart health.
Contain fewer or no pesticides residues
Organic produce has very little or no residues of pesticides compared with conventional produce, which has a great impact on your health. Organic produce reduces the health risk of farmers and consumers by minimizing their exposure to these harmful toxic chemicals.
Organic foods are often fresher
As organic foods contain no preservatives, so they are sold in the fresh form within a short period and at a short distance in nearby markets.
Organic foods are environmental friendly
These foods are environmental friendly as it helps to reduce pollution with no use of pesticides sprays or petroleum-based fertilizers, less use of energy, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, and increase soil fertility. Thus, organic practices help to preserve and protect natural habitats.
Organic foods are GMO-free. GMOs are genetically modified organisms whose DNA has been altered to make them resistant to pesticides and increase crop yield. These crops grow through the un-natural way may sometimes prove harmful for the environment or human also.
Low resistance to antibiotics by bacteria
The use of antibiotics in animals can create resistance to some strains of bacteria. Animal grown organically have more space to move and access to outdoors that make them healthy without the use of antibiotics. This reduces the chances of resistance to antibiotics in bacteria.
Labeling of organic foods
Most of the organic producers claim their products by labeling them as ‘’organic’’. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has initiated a program for the certification of organic foods under strict government standards. These standards check out how organic foods are grown and processed.
The USDA has established some guidelines to label any product as organic on the product description and packaging. Every producer has to go through a certification process before labeling their products as organic. There are certain categories of organic food labeling:
100% organic:These products are exclusively made by using organic methods and contain purely organic ingredients. These can be labeled as ‘’100 percent organic’’. This description can be used for single-ingredient foods such as certified organic vegetables, fruits, meat, and eggs, etc. There may be a use of USDA Organic Seal.
Organic:This description covers those multi-ingredient foods that are specifically made through organic methods and contain at least 95% certified organic ingredients. The non-organic ingredients must be from USDA approved list of additional ingredients. These foods may also carry USDA Seal.
Made with organic:The multi-ingredient products with more than 70% and less than 95% certified organic ingredients are labeled as ‘’Made with organic’’. USDA seal may not be used for these products.
Organic ingredients:The multi-ingredient product containing less than 70% organic ingredient usually are allowed only to list those ingredients on the product description which come from an organic source. Such a product must not label with a USDA seal.
What are the downsides of organic foods?
Organic foods often cost high. It is 50% more expensive than conventional produce. This is probably because farmers have to pay more attention to cultivation practices. If you set some priorities in this regard, you can manage to buy some important organic foods.
Organic foods do not give any exceptional health benefits than conventional produce. There are very few or no scientifically proven pieces of evidence available. But the important thing we need to know that these products have fewer pesticides and antibiotics exposure. Therefore, the chances of illness and harmful effects on health after taking organic food would be minimized. And you are helping to save the environment from harmful effects from unnatural methods of cultivation. That is the biggest achievement in the present era.
Well, all the above-mentioned discussions may convince you to shift your conventional food style to organic foods. But again the choice is yours. But eating an organic diet is advantageous over the conventional one, as it is less harmful to your health and environmental friendly.