The health benefits of organic food are more based on perception than real facts. However, the sweeping public opinion that organic food is healthier than conventional food is quite strong, and is the main reason for about 30% of growth in the organic food industry over the past 5-6 years. Much of this inflated support of organic food as a healthier alternative comes from environmental groups who don’t want pesticides and fertilizers to do any more damage to the environment, so promoting organic foods, which don’t use those types of chemicals, seems like a good way to get the results they want. The producers of organic food are also very strong contributors to the idea that organic food is superior to other types.
Organic Facts is a strong proponent of organic food; however, this website also believes in putting across the most accurate facts to its visitors. This article will explain which aspects of organic food are actually beneficial for your health, and which ones have been misrepresented in recent years.
First of all, there is a small amount of scientific evidence to show that organic food is better in quality than conventional food. Scientific research conducted thus far on various organic food items has not been able to give strong evidence about the superiority of organic food over non-organic food. As a result, even the FDA and the USDA clearly mention that non-organic food is as healthy as organic food. However, there are some scientific studies that have proved organic milk and organic tomatoes to be better than the non-organic varieties. Studies are also ongoing about a variety of other types of organic food that may have additional health benefits compared to the non-organic varieties.
Organic Milk: Recent research conducted on organic milk has shown that it has more antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and vitamins than non-organic milk. According to the researchers at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Research at the University of Aberdeen and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, organic milk is healthier than non-organic milk, since organic cows are pasture grazed which results in the better quality of milk.
Organic Tomatoes: According to a 10-year study conducted by the University of California, Davis, organic tomatoes are produced in an environment that has a lower nutrient supply since nitrogen-rich chemical fertilizers are not added. This leads to an excessive formation of antioxidants, such as quercetin (79% higher) and kaempferol (97% higher) in organic tomatoes. As we all know, antioxidants are good for health and help in reducing heart disease and the chances of developing cancer.
These studies have increased the hopes of numerous people who strongly believe that mankind should stop using chemical fertilizers and pesticides and shift to more sustainable organic farming practices. There are many studies that prove that there is some pesticide and fertilizer contamination in non-organic food, and there are others which claim that organic food is not healthy because they contain harmful bacteria and viruses because of not using strong chemicals to protect against these toxic substances. However, none of these studies that show chemical contamination or the presence of bacteria/viruses show any direct impact on the overall health of individuals.
Health Benefits of Organic Food
In general, organic food consumers, manufacturers, and farmers strongly believe that organic food has the following benefits compared to non-organic food. While there are plenty of arguments against the multitude of organic food being overpriced on the market, there is no denying that there are some benefits that can be enjoyed.
Antioxidant Capacity: A number of studies have been completed regarding the effects of antioxidants derived from organic foods on your overall health, and the predominant results have shown that antioxidants tend to have more of an impact when they come from organic foods. This may be due to the fact that foreign chemicals are not negatively interacting with the different vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that are so essential for the positive impact of fruits and vegetables in the prevention of things like cancer, heart disease, premature aging, vision problems, and cognitive malfunction.
Pesticide Reduction: One of the major complaints that organic food consumers cite when choosing organic over non-organic is the presence of pesticides. In order to keep crops from being attacked by the natural world, including bugs, pesticides are required. Although they do a good job keeping certain pests away from the crops, they also are composed of powerful chemicals like organophosphorus. This is an unnatural mineral compound that is not required by humans, but more than 80% of this material in our bodies comes from eating pesticide-coated foods. Organophosphorus has been connected to a number of developmental problems, including autism and ADHD, so those organic food lovers do have a pretty strong argument in this case. To be fair, many people do choose to go organic to make sure that their children grow up healthy and unaffected by the toxins of the world during their developmental years.
Heart Health: Increased amount of time grazing on grass also increases the amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) that can be found in the animal products. CLA is a heart-healthy fatty acid that can boost cardiovascular protection, and it is found in higher quantities in breast milk and in meat for animals that have been raised free range or cage-free.
Immune System: In recent decades, one of the biggest projects for farmers and food growers has been genetic modification. Making tomatoes six times larger might sound like a possible option for solving some world hunger issues, but there is another side to it. Genetic modification is still in its early stages, so the long-term effects of it on human health aren’t understood as well as we would like. In animal testing genetically modified food showed a major reduction in immune system strength, an increase in birth mortality, as well as in certain sexual dysfunctions, cancers, and sensitivity to allergens. Although there are some good things about genetically modified food, organic food advocates point to the lack of concrete details about the long-term effects.
Antibiotic Resistance: People are very sensitive to issues of their health, and they often take precautions to make sure they remain healthy, like getting various vaccines and taking antibiotics as soon as a new strain of bacteria makes them ill. However, non-organic food sources, particularly livestock and feed houses, also use antibiotics to feed their animals. This extra dose of antibiotics may actually be weakening our immune system by basically overdosing on antibiotics, thereby reshaping our immune system so many times that it will eventually be unable to defend itself. Organic food growers and dairy farmers do not use antibiotics in their processes.
Overall Health: Since organic food is not prepared using chemical fertilizers, it does not contain any traces of these strong chemicals and might not affect the human body in negative ways. Natural fertilizers, like manure, work perfectly fine, and organic farmers are happy to use this smellier, yet safer, form of fertilizer.
Better Taste: Some people strongly believe that organic food tastes better than non-organic food. The prominent reason for this belief is that it is produced using organic means of production. Furthermore, organic food is often sold locally, resulting in availability of fresh produce in the market, which usually does taste better than produce that has been frozen, shipped, and transported across long distances.
Environmental Safety: As harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, there is minimal soil, air and water pollution; thus ensuring a safer and healthier world for future generations to live in.
Animal Welfare: Animal welfare is an important aspect of producing organic milk, organic meat, organic poultry, and organic fish. People feel happy that the animals are not confined to a miserable caged life when they eat organic animal products.