Many of us are aware that organic produce is a better choice, but do you know all the benefits? There is much more to organic food than simply being free from chemicals. A recent study published by the British Journal of Nutrition found that organic fruit and vegetables have up to 6 times the level of antioxidants than conventional produce. This is thought to be because many antioxidant compounds are phytochemicals (plant based chemicals) that are involved in the plants own defense system. Without chemical pesticides, the plant has to work harder to protect itself and therefore becomes more nutritious for us! So yes, organic food actually is higher in nutrients and therefore better for your health.
What does organic mean?
The term ‘organic’ is used to describe food that has been grown without harmful fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Hormones, growth stimulators, antibiotics, other medications and livestock feed additives are not used in animals. Crops are rotated each season to various parts of the land to maintain soil fertility and ensure nutritious produce. Animals will be fed their natural diet while being allowed to be free to roam and will not be caged. There is no use of genetically modified seeds or food for livestock. This leads to a much happier and healthier life for the animals.
10 reasons to eat organic
Here are the top 10 reasons why we should all be choosing organic where we can.
- There are no herbicides or harmful pesticides used in organic farming.
- Non-organic fruit and vegetables are often picked long before they are ripe to allow for time spent in transit and storage prior to sale. The less time the produce has spent on in the tree, the less time it has to gain important nutrients. Most organic food is grown by smaller farmers who deliver straight to farmers markets or shops, meaning less time in transit and storage, therefore more time for the plant to gain more nutrients
- The use of antibiotics, anti-microbials, hormones and growth stimulants is not allowed in organic meat and dairy products, meaning organic are cleaner with less chemicals for our bodies to deal with. Even when organically raised animals are treated for medical conditions by medications, they are then not allowed to be sold as organic.
- Synthetic chemicals such as preservatives, colourings, flavourings etc are prohibited in organic goods
- Organic animals will only be fed their natural diet. So, chicken will eat insects and grass, cows will be fed on grass. This means they are not going to be fattened up quickly by being fed on grains or corn that causes a higher omega 6 level and leads to inflammation in the human body
- All organically labelled produce is non-genetically modified. This means the feed fed to livestock along with the seeds used for planting will not be genetically modified.
- Many comprehensive studies have found that eating organic produces are more nutritious and are better for us. Organic food is higher in vitamin C, mineral levels and phytonutrients; these are plant compounds that can be effective against cancer (Heaton, 2001, Worthington 2001).
- Eating organic produce is better for our planet. It reduces the problem of chemicals from fertilizers, pesticides etc polluting our waterways and therefore reduces environmental toxicity.
- Eating organic means you are able to support local produce and smaller farmers rather than feeding into mass farming and imported products.
- Organic food can actually taste better- many studies have proven that there is more taste in organic fruit and vegetables as well as meat products. This is likely due to better soil health. So simple, but one of the best motivating reasons to choose organic.
If might not be possible for everyone to choose organic 100% of the time, however there are many easily accessible organic options around these days. Farmers markets are the best place to start as not only is there a wide variety of options, but you can support local farming for a more affordable price. Organic eggs and dairy products are easy to find. Organic meat and chicken products are also just as accessible.
Below is the ‘dirty dozen and clean 15’ food list. This is a list of what research has found to be the cleanest and dirtiest of vegetable product. The clean 15 are food choices to be eaten non-organically grown, however the dirty dozen have been found to retain and house a much higher chemical residue level and should be only purchased as organic if possible.
For more information or to make an appointment with Hayley please contact 02 95180722