The on-going debate of organic versus conventional food is regularly brought up in ‘shop-talk’ with the common question of what the health benefits of organic food are? The fact of the matter is the harvesting and farming behind organic produce is what set them apart from conventionally-produced foods.
What does ‘organic’ mean?
The term ‘organic’, as mentioned above, refers to the manner in which agricultural products are grown and processed. In order for products to be certified as ‘organic’ a group of specific requirements to be met and maintained. The basic regulations around farming organic crops are ensuring they are grown in safe soil, have no artificial modifications and remain separate from the conventionally-grown products. Farmers are not permitted to utilize synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), inorganic fertilizers. The same goes for organic livestock that are not to be given antibiotics, growth hormones or any animal-by-products.
Why do pesticides matter?
Above all, organic food is free from pesticides which are chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. In conventional agriculture, these chemicals are commonly used – the concerning factor is that the chemical residue can be easily consumed as it remains on the exterior (and in) the food people eat.
Pesticide exposure is extremely dangerous of children and foetuses because their immune systems, bodies and brains are still developing. Being exposed at an early age can cause delays in development, behavioural disorders and motor dysfunction. Pregnant women are also high risk individuals due as pesticides elevate the stress on the already taxed organs. More importantly, pesticides can be sent from mother to child in the womb that could be detrimental and cause delayed effects on the nervous system.
What are the health benefits?
Organic foods provide a number of health benefits to our bodies. Some studies shows that organic produced foods are more nutritious, with a higher quantity of antioxidants than conventionally grown produce. In addition, people with food, chemical and preservative allergies are advised to opt for organic foods since it has shown to reduce or take away symptoms.
Organic foods are often fresher. This is because there are no preservatives added to organic produced foods and therefore gives you the nutrients free from any other agents. The benefit of organically raised animals that are not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal-by-products – is more important to our health than people realise. The use of antibiotics in conventional meat helps create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. This means that if someone were to fall ill from these strains they will be less responsive to antibiotic treatment.
In closing, you can see from the benefits mentioned above organic produced foods gives you more than enough reason to swop and buy organic produce only. Although the benefits of organic food may or may not include higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, they do provide a food product with fewer toxins and promote fresher foods. It is important to know the facts and understand what it is we are eating. If we are going to be healthy eaters, we must also be informed eaters. On a personal note – we should take the effort to know the health benefits of organic foods.
Stephanie Marz writes for the leading Health Shop in South Africa. The are also the leading supplier of Oscar Juicers in Africa.