How healthy are organic foods? Is the cost worth it? Find out what the labels on foods mean and which ones will give you the most value for your money.
What does the term “organic” mean?
Produce that is “organic” is grown and processed in a particular way. There are different laws in each country. In the United States, organic crops must not be sprayed with synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers. They cannot grow using genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Grazing on pasture is an essential aspect of raising organic livestock (such as on pasture).
It is required that livestock is raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products. In addition, antibiotics, growth hormones, and animal by-products cannot be given to these animals.
What organic food has to offer
Your mental and emotional health and the environment can be affected by the way your food is raised or grown. When people eat only organic foods, their symptoms of allergies, chemicals, or preservatives may improve. They may even go away as they consume more organic foods.
Organic foods have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants than conventionally-grown counterparts.
Pesticides are less prevalent in organic produce. Conventional agricultural system uses chemical pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides on food. Organic food tends to be fresher, as it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Occasionally, organic produce is produced on plants closer to the point of sale.
The environment tends to be better off when organic farming is practiced. In addition to using less energy and water, organic farming can also reduce pollution. The environment and the people who live near farms benefit as well from farming without synthetic pesticides.
The animals raised organically do not receive antibiotics, growth hormones, or animal by-products. When livestock by-products are fed to livestock, mad cow disease (BSE) can develop. The use of antibiotics can produce bacteria resistant to antibiotics. These animals have more room to move around and are given access to the outdoors, so they tend to be healthier.
Certain nutrients can be found in organic meat and milk. According to a European study published in 2016, organic meat and milk contain higher certain nutrients. This includes omega-3 fatty acids.
GMOs are not present in organic food. GMOs are foods genetically engineered because plant DNA has been altered. It is not something that is found through crossbreeding or in nature. They are usually pesticide-resistant or producing insecticides.
Locally grown food versus organic food
The term “local food” doesn’t have a specific definition like the term “organic”. Local communities, states, regions, or countries may grow it. Farmers’ markets and other places where local food is sold are usually available for most of the year.
Food grown locally has numerous benefits
Money stays in the local economy. Marketers and distributors make less money because more money goes to farmers. Transportation is vital too. After picking the produce, it must be gassed to “ripen” it after transports. For transport, the food is highly processed with preservatives, irradiation, and other drying methods.
The freshest food is picked at the peak of ripeness and is more flavorful.
Despite using organic methods, some small farmers are unable to afford certification. Find out what methods farmers use by visiting a farmer’s market.
GMO: What you need to know
It is a controversial question whether GMOs have health and environmental effects. GMOs typically produce a herbicide or insecticide in food crops. American sweet corn is genetically engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup. It also produces BtToxin, which acts as an insecticide.
The most common GMO crops in the United States are soybeans, alfalfa, squash, zucchini, papayas, canola. Also, many breakfast cereals and processed foods. A package containing soy lecithin or corn syrup is likely to contain GMOs.
Pesticides and GMOs
GMO have been linked with a 15-fold increase in the use of toxic herbicides like Roundup (glyphosate). World Health Organization reports indicate that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”. There is still some controversy over the health risks associated with pesticide use.
Is organic food pesticide-free?
Organic foods have the benefit of containing fewer pesticides, as mentioned above. Pesticides are used by organic farms, despite popular belief. Instead of synthetic pesticides, they use only naturally-derived pesticides. Despite being perceived as less toxic, some natural pesticides have been linked to health problems. Therefore, eating organic is likely to reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides.