Natural Health Tips

Why Choose Organic Food?

Much of the food available to us has been produced using pesticides, antibiotics, artificial additives and genetically modified organisms. These can accumulate in the body over time and cause a variety of health problems.

Organic food is always fresher and therefore more nutritious, and is produced using much less toxins than conventionally-grown produce. Organic standards dictate that farmers must use good farming practice, with sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of producing food. Food labeled organic must comply with strict legal standards.

Research has shown that organic products have higher nutrient levels with typically around 27% more Vitamin C, 29% more magnesium and 21% more iron, as well as other vital vitamins, minerals and essential acids. [1]

A 2005 study has found that organic milk is better for you [2]. The Danish study found that organic milk was 50% higher in Vitamin E, 75% higher in beta carotene and between 200-300% higher in antioxidants than non-organic milk.

Toxic pesticides in Non-Organic Produce

Non-organic apples are often sprayed up to 16 times with a toxic cocktail of 36 different chemicals before they appear on our shelves. They can also be kept "asleep" for up to 12 months in sealed cold stores to preserve them.

The average non-organic lettuce can be sprayed up to 15 times with a variety of chemicals and pesticides.

The average non-organic fruit or vegetable will have been sprayed with pesticides, rinsed in chlorine, gassed or cold stored to slow deterioration.

And its not just fruit and vegetables that are contaminated. Antibiotics are regularly given to animals like chickens, dairy cattle and fish.

These and other pesticides and chemicals are used in agriculture to promote growth and plump up production as quickly as possible. These residues remain in meat, eggs, milk etc and the implications for our health are serious. Not only are people affected by the growth hormones from these products, but increasing links have been made between antibiotic use and the rise of superbugs - bacteria which have developed a resistance to commonly-used antibiotics. Scientists believe that this widespread exposure of farm animals to bacteria has allowed them to develop a resistance, and may be why many antibiotics are no longer effective in treating illnesses in humans.

Buying organic Produce

If organic produce is not easily available or you cannot afford to go totally organic, then choose organic versions of food that you eat most often. This includes:

  • Milk - if you can't get hold of fresh, unpasteurized milk from certified farms that meet all state and national legal requirements for provision of such milk, then organic (and preferably non-homogenized) milk is the next best thing.

  • Eggs - buy free range, organic eggs.

  • Meat / poultry - cut down on meat consumption. It is sometimes difficult to know where the meat has come from, what it was fed, in what conditions it was raised etc. Excessive meat consumption is also associated with many health problems.

Replace the most chemically contaminated fruits and vegetables with organic alternatives. These are listed in the article Fruit and vegetables that Contain the Most pesticides.

Eat foods in season. Find out what foods are in season and change your meals accordingly. This will guarantee that what you are eating is fresh, packed with nutrients and has not been damaged by long periods of storage.

A surefire way to know exactly what you are eating is to grow it yourself. Growing the fruit and vegetables that you commonly consume will not only provide you with fresh, nutritious seasonal produce on your doorstep, it is also greatly rewarding.

References

  • [1] Worthington V Nutritional Quality of organic Versus Conventional Fruits, vegetables, and grains Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine. April 1, 2001, 7(2): 161-173.

  • [2] G Butler G et al Effect of production system and geographic location on milk quality parameters QLIF 2007.