What does it really mean when a food item is labeled as organic? Doesn’t all produce grow from soil – what is the difference between organic food and food that is not labeled as organic? When farmers label their food as organic it means that the production of the food is done in the most natural way possible. Instead of using crops that are genetically enhanced or sprayed with pesticides, organic food is naturally grown in a clean environment. There are many benefits of organic food worth noting – mainly that it is good for your health. The organic food industry is a very lucrative business and is expected to continue to flourish as people become increasingly aware of their health and what they put into their bodies. Organic foods also come with a higher price tag, so many people have to decide if the organic label is worth the extra expense. Let’s take a look at some of the top benefits of organic food, and why you should include it in your diet:
- Eating organic means that you reduce the amount of chemicals and pesticides in your diet. Fruits, vegetables and grains that are labeled as organic are grown without the use of many artificial fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. Although chemicals like these have been approved as safe to use in low quantities in conventional farming, health experts agree that there can be potential harm from repeated exposure. For example, a commonly used herbicide known as Roundup has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen,” and other insecticides have been associated with developmental delays in babies.
- Eating organic produce is the best way to avoid GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods and ingredients. The guidelines on labeling food as non-GMO are very strict, and it means that an organic farmer cannot use GMO seeds, an organic cow cannot be fed with GMO corn and items like organic soups also can’t use any GMO ingredients.
- Animals and livestock are often fed antibiotics in order to keep them healthy and protect against illnesses – this makes it easier for farmers to raise animals in crowded facilities and in unsanitary conditions. Even though the FDA has limited the use of antibiotics on livestock, farmers have still found loopholes to the rules. Also, with the exception of poultry, many animals are injected with synthetic growth hormones in order to have them gain weight faster or produce more milk. Meat and dairy that is labeled as organic cannot contain synthetic hormones and antibiotics – additives that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
- Organic food comes from livestock that is treated humanely. Farmers who are responsible about taking care of their animals make an effort to feed them natural foods, treat them well and allow them to roam outdoors freely.
- Did you know that in order to be classified as “organic” food is not allowed to have any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives? Cleaner food means your diet is cleaner, which ultimately means that you will be a better, healthier version of yourself.
- Organic food is made up of more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and micronutrients than food that is conventionally raised. Various studies have found that organic food has a higher content of antioxidants, vitamins and beneficial flavonoids.
- Sewage sludge, a byproduct of wastewater treatment, contains a whole slew of hazardous materials. Once sewage sludge is treated it is actually approved to be used as fertilizer in agriculture, which means that a whole mess of toxic material is applied to the food we buy. Organic food on the other hand cannot be treated with or grown with sewage sludge fertilizer. There are very specific and strict guidelines in place for organic products including planting, growing, raising, handling and even packaging – making it safer and healthier for consumption.
- Organic farming is eco-friendly and responsible, it helps to mitigate the rise in carbon dioxide levels, which helps to battle climate change. Healthy soil offsets climate change because it pulls carbon out of the atmosphere, this is similar to how forests and other ecosystems work.
There are various other benefits of organic food, but the main important takeaways are that organic food is grown responsibly and sustainably and that it is better for your health because it is free of toxins and pesticides and offers a stronger punch of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you are looking to lead a healthy lifestyle, engage in a successful weight loss program and be a better version of yourself we encourage you to contact our clinic for advice, guidance and support.