Welcome to my 'Is Organic Food Healthier' post!
First of all, I must congratulate you for taking the time to do your research on this topic of green living. Organic food has become increasingly commonplace even in standard grocery stores, thanks to the notion that organic food is healthier and overall better for you.
But is organic food healthier? The following guide will help you understand more about what organic food is and whether organic food is healthier for you.
As a qualified teacher, I am passionate about education and the impact it can have on bettering our future. It is down to us individuals to do our research and make small changes to the way we live our lives.
These small changes are easy to make and can have a big impact on our health, the health of our family and our environment. This website is designed for everyday people looking to make these changes. Here you will learn a legitimate way to go green.
Let me be completely transparent with you, I am not here to pitch or sell anything to you. I am here to reveal and to assist you on your journey of going green!
What is Organic Food?
The exact definition of "organic" food will vary depending on where the food is grown and sold, as well as the type of food being labeled; this is because different organizations have different regulations regarding food (particularly produce and meat products) being labeled organic.
In general, however, the concept behind organic food is that it will grow without using synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, irradiation, genetic engineering or modification; and it does not contain antibiotics or growth hormones for meat such as beef and chicken.
Instead, organic farming uses natural practices such as employing insect traps for pest control, using plant or livestock manure as fertilizer; and humane practices for livestock, such as providing healthy living conditions, providing pasture grazing, and so on.
In simple terms, when you buy organic food you are buying quality food that is better for your health and it is better for the health of our environment.
When shopping for organic produce always look for the USDA label. This can be found on a huge range of products; meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables, dry food, etc.
By purchasing the food with this label, the organic seal, you can guarantee it is a quality organic produce. These foods have an organic certification with the USDA. Companies using the label are responsible for meeting five organic standards.
About the “USDA Organic” or “Certified Organic” seals on food, items must:
- have an ingredient list
- content must be at least 95% “Certified Organic”
According to the USDA “Certified Organic” has specific requirements. When the food is free of chemical fertilizers, synthetic additives, pesticides, and dyes it could be organic. It also must not be made with the use of industrial solvents, genetic engineering, or irradiation.
But what about the other 5%? Don’t worry, these last ingredients must be on their approved list too. The certification appears to be a thorough process. Once certified, companies will be subject to annual reviews. Also, organic meat farmers must raise their animals in more spacious surroundings.
Different countries have a different understanding or certification for ‘organic’ produce. What is written here applies to the certification process of the U.S.A. For more information about USDA, please visit their website here.
Is Organic Food Healthier?
The question remains: is organic food healthier? Although organic food is sometimes dismissed as simply a way for companies to make more money, because organic food is usually higher in price, research has shown that there are health benefits to consuming organic foods compared to non-organic foods.
Nutritionally, research has shown that organic produce has at least a slight increase in nutritional value compared to non-organic produce. For instance, flavonoids (which contain antioxidants) are higher in organic produce than non-organic produce.
Organic meats, dairy products, and eggs are also significantly higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than their non-organic counterparts. Omega-3 fatty acids are much more heart-friendly than other types of fats.
Decrease Pesticide Residue
Another health benefit associated with organic food is a significant decrease in toxic pesticide residue compared to non-organic produce. Non-organic produce needs to be thoroughly washed before consumption to remove toxic pesticide residue, but most people do not fully remove pesticides, even if they happen to rinse the produce in the sink.
Organic produce, on the other hand, is grown with natural pesticides or pest-control options so the level of pesticide residue ranges from only slight to zero depending on how it was grown. Organic produce should still be thoroughly washed to remove bacteria, but the chances for toxic pesticide residue on the products are much lower.
Studies have also found that livestock meats grown organically have much fewer bacteria contamination compared to livestock grown in a conventional, non-organic manner. The reason for this is multi-faceted: livestock grown for conventional meat production is typically grown in areas with poorer health conditions and with less nutritionally useful food, which can decrease an animal's resistance to bacteria.
Livestock grown with organic methods are typically given healthier lifestyles, vaccinations against various diseases, as well as more nutritionally valuable diets that improve their health before they are cultivated for their meat.
When intensive farming methods are used for rearing animals for meat, animals are commonly kept in small areas with high population numbers. When there are lots of animals in small spaces like this, the risk of infections spreading is much higher.
As a result, many farmers use antibiotics to prevent the spread of infection. Although this looks like a good option at first glance, there are drawbacks. Antibiotics stay in the animal's body and are passed onto humans when they are consumed. It has been proven that the overuse of antibiotics is leading to a weaker immune system and other health effects.
Levels of stress are also higher when animals live in confined spaces. When the animals are stressed, chemicals are released into their blood and stay there when they die, too entering the human body and having adverse effects on us.
Organic farming is different from conventional farming methods. It provides animals with more space, which promotes happier and healthier living for animals.
Support Local Farmers
The majority of the food we buy today is grown many, many miles away from where we live or do our grocery shopping. Getting the food to our stores involves huge transportation fees. The more heavy goods vehicles we have on the road, the more pollution we create and this contributes towards global warming and health risks.
When we buy food at a large grocery store, we further support and enable big companies to continue their industrial farming methods. These farming methods are sadly known to be monopolies, trapping farmers into situations where they are dependent on the system, earning little money with even fewer routes out.
Purchasing locally grown food support local farmers, businesses, and the farming methods they are using. It prevents the need for huge transportation systems, reducing air pollutions, and promoting a healthy atmosphere. Also, it promotes fair business for the farmers. Every time we spend a dollar at a local organic farm we are voting for this healthier farming industry.
Reduce Land Pollution
Mainstream farming methods involve the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals pollute our land and waterways.
This pollution affects water and land ecosystems and wildlife. Water pollution can cause algae blooms which add carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.
Much of the world's surface is now polluted and a large amount of this has been caused by industrial farming practices. We are also losing a lot of the topsoil which is very difficult to replace.
Organic farming methods do not use these chemicals which are harming our environment and creating land pollution.
Intensive farming practices wash array our topsoils, which are almost impossible to regenerate. Thankfully organic farming can help improve our soil.
Is Organic Food Healthier: The Final Verdict!
What is good for our planet, is also good for us and our health. There is a relationship between environmental health and human health. Organic farming practices support a healthy environment which in turn has positive impacts on our health.
I think you will agree that when people ask “Is organic food healthier?”, you can confidently respond “yes.” If you want to make sure you are buying organic food, carefully check food labels the next time you go grocery shopping.