Should I Buy Organic Food?

Many health conscious people understand the importance of making dietary changes to improve their overall health and wellness. Over the past few decades, the popularity of organic foods has risen dramatically. Today, the organic movement has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. This is due largely in part to the perception that organic foods are healthier than traditionally grown foods. Is that truly the case?

 

Take a closer look at the differences between organic foods and traditionally grown foods, and you can see for yourself why people are turning to organic foods. Also, learn more about the benefits that come along with eating organic foods. Before you agree to pay the extra money for organics, you will want to know why you are paying more. Learning more about organic foods and how they affect your overall health and wellness will help you to see that they are worth every additional cent that you pay.

 

The Difference Between Organic Foods and Traditionally Grown Foods

 

The USDA defines organic foods as “food produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation.”

 

Some of these terms may be a bit unsettling, especially for people who are not accustomed to buying organic foods. The fact is, most traditionally grown foods use unnatural fertilizers. You may not have known that some foods are even made with “sewage sludge.” This does not sound too appetizing, does it?

 

Only foods that are grown in organic fields that use no agricultural chemicals can be considered organic. Organic farmers use traditional methods of farming, including composting, mechanical cultivation and crop rotation.

 

Organic foods are also generally more expensive than traditionally grown foods. This is because organic farming requires much more work and is less productive. So, why do some farmers still grow organic foods? The answer is simple—many health-conscious people are willing to pay extra for the health benefits that organic foods provide to their family.

 

Another way that organic foods differ from traditionally grown foods is their taste. Organic foods offer a richer taste because they are not tainted with harsh chemicals that can take away from the natural flavor of the food. So, for better tasting, healthier foods, you should choose organic foods whenever you can—even if it means spending a bit more for them.

 

Are They Really Better for You?

 

A whole slew of studies have been conducted to determine whether or not organic foods are actually better than traditionally grown foods. One of the most commonly referenced studies came from several scientists from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In the study, they concluded that most of the nutrients included in both organic foods and traditionally grown foods, such as calcium, iron and vitamin C, were not always different.

 

So, does that mean that the organic foods are not better for you? Absolutely not! When you take a closer look, you will find that there is much more to organic food than simply vitamins and minerals. According to HealthStatus, a directory of health related articles online, “the main reason for the increased popularity of organic food comes from the fear people have of chemical pesticides and fertilizers used to grow food in conventional fields.”

 

Any health professional will tell you that chemicals that are being used to grow foods these days can have very harmful effects on the human body. Some of these pesticides and chemicals will remain on the foods long after they have been washed or peeled. So, if you think that you are safe by simply washing your foods, think again.

 

Here are some of the common health problems associated with certain chemicals and pesticides used in non-organic foods:

 

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Neurological issues
  • Respiratory problems
  • Skin problems
  • Memory loss
  • Cancer
  • Birth defects
  • Depression

 

This is not even a comprehensive list of problems that can arise from certain traditionally grown foods. There are many more possible health concerns to consider as well.

 

The Benefits of Organic Foods

 

Organic foods prove to have a variety of benefits. According to W. J. Crinnion, of the Environmental Medicine Program at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona, “organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer.”

 

The fact that organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients speaks for itself. The human body requires a certain amount of nutrients for overall health and wellness. Getting the proper amount of nutrients each day can be challenging, but with organic foods it makes it a bit easier.

 

As seen above, the pesticides used in non-organic foods can prove to be quite detrimental to human health. Eliminating these pesticides from your diet by consuming organic foods can really help to reduce your risk of certain health issues.

 

Another big benefit is the fact that organic foods are naturally higher in antioxidant phytochemicals, such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and carotenoids. While these terms may be a foreign language to most consumers, they are very important to human health.

 

Should All Foods Purchased Be Organic?

 

Whenever you have the opportunity, you will want to make sure that you choose organic foods. Fortunately, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established a program for helping consumers remain informed about organic foods. For foods to be labeled as organic, they must meet strict requirements set forth by the government. These requirements regulate not only the way that the foods are grown, but also the ways that they are handled and processed.

 

Most people that produce organic foods will have the USDA Organic label. While this label is notrequired, it is used quite frequently because the producers want people to recognize their foods asbeing compliant with the USDA standards.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/2012/02/20/is-organic-food-really-better-for-you/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organic-food/NU00255

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359265

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