People are resorting to organic food to stay healthy.
Organic food is popular, in the trend and urged by everyone wherever we go. Why? Because it is more nutritious, improves animal welfare and helps the environment. Earlier organic food was only found in health stores, whereas now you can find them on most of the shelves at the supermarket. However, are we sure that organic food is really organic? Are we sure about its benefit to our physical and mental health? What does the label mean? Are all the claims made are right or they’re just for business?
Let’s find the solution to all of these questions one by one:
What is organic food?
Organic food is a type of food that is not processed by irradiation, industrial solvents or synthetic food activities. Organic farming strives to cycle resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. It is a “way” of growing and processing agricultural products. According to USDA, organic produce must be grown without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified organisms.
In simple words, organic foods should be friends with the planet and human health. They are less likely to harm human health than non-organic foods.
Difference between organic and non-organic food:
- Organic foods are grown using natural fertilizers like manure and compost. Whereas, non-organic or conventional foods are grown using synthetic or chemical fertilizers.
- Organic farming controls the weeds in natural ways such as crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching and tilling. On the other hand, non-organic farming controls the weeds by using chemical herbicides.
- In organic farming, pests are controlled using natural methods (birds, insects, traps) and by using natural-derived pesticides. On the contrary, conventional farming controls the pest by using synthetic pesticides.
Benefits of Organic Food:
What we eat is very important. It has a major impact on mental, emotional as well as physical health. It is a truth that organic food has much more nutrients than conventionally grown food. Let’s learn about the benefits in detail:
Since organic food is produced and grown using natural methods they have fewer pesticides. Conventionally grown food has chemicals like fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides in them.
The fact organic food doesn’t contain preservatives, it can’t last long. But this is a plus point since one often gets to eat fresh food.
Growing organic food with natural methods helps in reducing pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility and use less energy.
Animals that are raised organically are not given antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal by-products in any form. This prevents the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and bacteria.
Rich in Nutrients
Studies show that organic meat and milk has 50% higher levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are made to make food crops resistant to herbicides or to produce an insecticide. GMOs can pose a threat to health and the environment.
After learning about organic food and its benefits, now let’s take a look at few things which you definitely need to know before buying organic food:
- If you’re under an impression that organic food is free of pesticides, let me tell you, it isn’t. The pesticides present in organic food are individually reviewed and approved but it’s still there. And there’s no guarantee about its safety.
- Some studies reveal that about half of the natural chemicals such as organic pesticides are carcinogenic. In fact, some of the approved chemicals have the potential to harm just like the dangerous chemicals used in conventional farming.
- There are 35 non-synthetic, non-organic and 43 synthetics, non-organic substances are allowed as ingredients or labeled as ‘organic’ on processed products.
- It is said that organic pesticides are as effective as synthetic. So that means, in order to avoid larger quantity of chemicals that are untested one resort to lesser quantity of chemicals that are tested. Does that make sense?
- The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and the NOP (National Organic Program) do not take the authority over organic food in other countries. Neither they do hands out certificates or oversee the daily operations.
The reason why organic food is more expensive:
There are of course logical reasons behind it. Since the farmers do not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers of drugs, natural methods of farming makes it more labor intensive. Getting an organic certification is expensive and providing animals with an organic feed can cost twice as well. Another reason is, due to the smaller size of organic farms there are fixed costs. The overhead is distributed across smaller produce volume without government subsidies. Hence, all this leads to the heavy pricing of organic food.
Whether it is organic, sustainable, eco-friendly or just plain food, it solely depends on you to choose whatever you like. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding unhealthy and junk food, leading a healthy lifestyle combined with exercise and proper sleep can do wonders for your body. One of the best things to do if you still are concerned about organic food is to grow your own food. It actually requires less time and can be taken up as a hobby.