Is Organic Food Really Better For Your Health?
It can be quite confusing knowing how big an impact eating only organic food may have on your health. Is it really important to let your family eat only organic produce? Being a mom is not always easy as you often need to make choices which will affect the whole family. If you need some advice on how to be a super mom while staying healthy, click here for more.
What Exactly Does Organic Mean?
Different countries have different regulations when it comes to classifying something as organic. In Canada, for example, a product can be classified as organic and display the organics logo if it consists of more than 95% organic content. When producing these foods, it should be done without the use of sewage sludge, synthetic pesticides, synthetic antibiotics, synthetic crop aids and genetic modification.
Animals that are said to be organically raised should be given organic feed only and kept free of antibiotics and growth hormones. Farm animals should have access to pasture land for grazing. Organic farming further also features practices that strive to conserve biodiversity, promote ecological balance and cycle resources.
Organic Food Facts
In 2012 studies found no difference between non-organic vs. organic food – except for the reduced amount of phosphorus found in non-organic produce. Luckily, most of us aren’t deficient in phosphorus. Organic foods were, however, also found to be lower in pesticide residues even though non-organic foods were still below the allowable limit.
In 2017 another study was done, this time finding that organic produce contained higher levels of iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, antioxidants, vitamin E and vitamin C. They also found that organic milk contains much more omega-3 which helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
On the other hand – organic grains, vegetables and fruits seem to have lower amino acid and protein content. This might be due to lower nitrogen availability in the soil which is needed to produce amino acids.
It is also important to remember that man-made pesticides aren’t the only pesticides that exist. Natural toxins are produced by plants themselves and therefore, in that arena, conventional foods may have a bit of an advantage. Organic plants may actually produce more natural toxins as they usually have more weeds and pests than conventional crops as they stay clear of synthetic herbicides and insecticides. Natural pesticides can in some cases, be more harmful to people than the pesticides used in conventional agriculture.
The Health Of The Environment
Even though it is not clear yet whether organic food really is more nutritious or safer to use, we do know that it is much better for society as a whole as well as for the environment. The toxic pesticides do accumulate in our bodies, the water and in the soil which is definitely harmful in the long-run. Read more about the environmental benefits of organic food production.
The Plan Of Action
Perhaps we should be more concerned with eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables instead of ensuring that it is organic. When looking at the nutrient content of food, how ripe and fresh it is and how it is prepared also has a really big influence. For example, Vitamin C starts degrading once the food has been picked. Even though some foods might have an organic nutritional advantage, if it travels for several hours, the benefits will be reversed. This is why buying local might be much more of an advantage.
Also, the way you choose to prepare your food will have an effect on nutrient levels. When you boil your veggies, it causes vitamin C to leach out into the water – again ruining the advantages of organic produce. If you rather try to eat a greater variety of whole foods, it might have a bigger positive impact on your health.
Another option, if you like the idea of organic foods or of reducing pesticides is to pick and choose. Depending on your own goals and needs, you might want to start by buying organic versions of the following foods as the conventional forms may carry a lot of pesticide residue:
- Strawberries, Pears, Peaches, Apples, Squash, Green Onions, Green beans, Green peas, Spinach, Raspberries, Blackberries and Strawberries.