Today, more people are switching to organically-grown produce and organic meats in the hopes of leading healthier lives. And, many conventional grocery stores are responding by carrying a larger number of organic foods. But, is organic food safer, more nutritious and better for you than non-organic food?
In organic farming, the soils are nurtured by adding organic matter, rotating crops and planting beneficial cover crops, unlike conventional farming where the soils are replenished with chemicals and synthetic additives. Organic farming also uses natural methods for pest control not chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
There are many health benefits to be derived from eating organic. Here are five important reasons why you may want to consider replacing conventional foods with organic.
Reason #1: Higher Vitamin and Mineral Content
Organic crops generally contain much higher levels of trace minerals, vitamin C, and antioxidant phytonutrients than conventionally-grown produce. Nutritionally depleted soil, pre-ripened picking, lengthy storage and processing are robbing the food we eat of critical nutrients. Organic foods that are sustainably grown in mineral-rich, naturally-composted soil and picked and sold for ready consumption are between 50% and 390% higher in minerals that are vital to your good health. The following are a few examples:
- Chromium (78% higher) – its deficiency is associated with diabetes and atherosclerosis
- Selenium (390% higher) – protects us against cancers and heart disease
- Calcium (63% higher) – supports bone strength
- Boron – (70% higher) helps prevent osteoporosis
- Lithium (188% higher) – treats certain types of depression
- Magnesium (138% higher) – reduces mortality from heart attacks, reduces muscle spasms and eases the symptoms of PMS
While containing much higher levels of important nutrient minerals, as importantly, organic foods contain dramatically lower levels of harmful heavy metals.
Reason #2: Greater Antioxidant Benefit
Organic produce is rich in natural plant nutrients (phytonutrients), many of which are natural antioxidants that are widely recognized for their cancer-fighting abilities.
Why are organic crops higher in antioxidants?
In the absence of chemical pesticide application, organic crops must rely on their own natural defenses to ward off pests and disease. Phytonutrients are the plant’s natural defense mechanism. Good, rich soil also contributes to more robust phytonutrient production.
This is why organic tomatoes, for example, have a higher level of lycopene, while there are more flavonols in organic apples, more polyphenols in organic potatoes and more resveratrol in red organic grapes and wines. You naturally receive a higher dose of healthy antioxidants in every bite.
Reason #3: Lower Pesticide Residues
Pesticides that are sprayed on crops don’t just remain on the outer surface of the plants. These pesticides drain into the soil and are absorbed by the plants. Although government testing says the amounts are safe, when you consider the number of different pesticides found in combination on these plants it makes you wonder how safe the cumulative effect of these combined chemical residues really is. In combination, the resulting toxicity can increase dramatically and can affect our reproductive, immune and nervous systems.
Researchers have linked many ailments including: headaches, tremor, lack of energy, depression, anxiety, poor memory, dermatitis, convulsions, nausea, indigestion and diarrhea to dietary intakes of pesticides. It is a widely-known fact that women diagnosed with breast cancer are six to nine times more likely to have DDT or hexachlorobenzene in their bloodstreams.
Organic farming keeps these harmful chemicals and pesticides out of the produce we eat.
Likewise, organically raised beef, pork and poultry that are fed organic feed and no antibiotics also help minimize our exposure to dangerous chemicals that would otherwise build up in the fat of these animals.
Reason #4:Organic Food Tastes Better
Washington State University researchers measured the taste of organic fruit by measuring the ratio of sugar content to acidity to determine the sweetness and also looked at the firmness of apples both at harvest and after lengthy storage. The organic apples proved to be sweeter with more enduring freshness. Best of all, consumer taste tests ranked the fruit high in taste. But you don’t need any fancy research to judge the difference for yourself. Bite into any vine-ripened organic tomato or juicy and flavorful organic fruit and you’ll discover that organic tastes better.
Reason #5: Organic Farming Reduces Health Risks
While ingesting organic foods is healthier for you, so is organic crop production. Organic farming not only eliminates the runoff of harmful chemicals into our water supply, but also prevents the exposure of our soil, air and environment to toxins.
Still not convinced that organic foods contain important health benefits? Consider the kids.
Organics give growing kids a healthy start
Children with their smaller body size and growing brain, organs, and still developing detoxification systems consume more food per pound of body weight than adults. So, the impact of that food, and the toxins in it, is greater on them than it is on adults.
Testing has shown that toddlers who eat diets of conventional foods have six times the amount of residue pesticides in their urine as toddlers who eat a mostly organic diet.
In addition, in 1998, a landmark study in a childhood population showed that low-level environmental, household and dietary exposures to toxins can cause subtle, yet measurable developmental deficits.
What do want your child eating?
Keeping Fido healthy and happy
People who switch to organic foods report a boost in energy levels, but what about the canine and feline members of the family? Dog owners who are willing to pay a premium price for organic dog food are convinced of the benefits to their beloved pets such as:
- Reduction in skin ailments and allergies
- More energy and healthier weight
- Fewer digestive disorders
- Better health and stronger immunity
- Improved quality of life and longevity
If feeding your pet organic food can help ensure a long, happy and healthy life, don’t you deserve that same benefit?
For more information on organics, visit The Organic Center for Education and Promotion at www.organic-center.org or The Organic Trade Association’s website: www.ota.com. Find organic vegetable recipes at: www.calorganicfarms.com