As of 2009, only a small fraction - 3.7 percent of total food sales in the United States - were organic. While small, this number is growing as consumers learn more about the benefits of choosing food that is produced without the use of any chemicals. Organic fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and even dairy products — are they really a healthier option? What is the actual difference for your body if you seek out and pay for organic rather than non-organic products? Exactly, why is organic food good for you?
Iowa State University quotes the National Organic Standards Board as defining the goal of organic agriculture as, “to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals, and people.” How is this done? By not using toxins to grow food. Organic by definition means food that was produced without the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Also, animals are not given growth hormones or antibiotics, and efforts are made to increase the well-being of the land that is used.
When you eat organic products, you are exposing your body to a minimal amount of toxins because chemicals are not used in production. By eating non-organic food, you may be consuming chemical residues. How does this affect well-being? The more toxins, the more work for the organs of elimination and the more likely waste will accumulate, potentially aggravating or contributing to disease. A cleansing diet with clean water and chemical-free, natural food is a way to support the organs of elimination and provide the body maximum nutrition without exposure to toxins.
Another reason why organic food is good for you is nutrient content. Do organic food products have more nutrients than non-organic
products? While studies have consistently linked natural, sustainable food with increased nutrition and flavor, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has pointed out that these studies were not designed well. More evidence is needed to make a definite confirmation of better nutritional content. For now, there are some studies to support the fact that organic food is healthier.
Research done at Washington State University, which compared organic and non-organic strawberries for two years, found that the organic fruit was more nutritious. The soil also had a higher content of nutrients. Another study in France found that organic products contained higher amounts of minerals and antioxidants than non-organic food. A New Jersey study posted in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2008 found that organic blueberries contained higher concentrations of antioxidants.
With less toxic residues and more antioxidants,and other beneficial compounds, choosing organic is a great decision for improving well-being. Not only is it an eco-friendly choice that supports sustainable agriculture, which we all depend on, but it is a healthy choice that supports you as the individual.
Organic Trade Association https://www.ota.com/organic/mt/food.html, https://www.ota.com/organic/benefits/nutrition.html
Iowa State University https://extension.agron.iastate.edu/organicag/whatis.html
photo by Jessica Spengler (CC/flickr) https://www.flickr.com/photos/wordridden/2440262469/
photo by Ivan Walsh (CC/flickr) https://www.flickr.com/photos/ivanwalsh/4467114186/