To answer the question, we need to know what organic foods really are.
OK, so what are organic foods?
Essentially, organic pertains to the way agricultural produce and products are grown and processed.
To be classified as organic, crops must be grown in safe and natural soil, must have no modifications – genetic or otherwise – and must be separated from conventional produce and products.
Organic crops are not exposed to synthetic pesticides, GMOs and fertilizers that are petroleum-based or sewage sludge-based. Organic farming practices include the usage of natural fertilizers such as compost and manure to feed soil and plants.
Crop rotation, mulching and tilling are used to control weeds, while insects are controlled using natural methods such as traps and birds.
Similarly, organic livestock must be raised on a diet of organic feed and must have adequate access to the outdoors; they should not be administered growth hormones, antibiotics, or any animal-by-products.
How do organic foods benefit me?
Organic foods are associated with a variety of benefits – due to the absence of chemicals and artificial treatments, they spare the ecosystem the damage, and are strongly believed to deliver great benefits to your health.
1. Organic foods are safer to consume
Since these foods are pesticide and chemical free, there are no harmful residues that are left on the foods, making them several times safer than conventionally grown foods that employ fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. This translates to lesser bouts of food-borne diseases.
2. They are healthier for you
They are a richer source of antioxidants as compared to conventionally grown foods. Studies have indicated that organic fruits and vegetables contain 27% more Vitamin C, 21.1% more Iron, 29.3% more Magnesium, 13.6% more Phosphorus, and 18% more Polyphenols while organic meats are less fatty. They have also noted that dairy products from organically raised livestock are healthier than conventionally produced dairy products – specifically, the content of Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants were significantly higher in organically produced milk.
3. They are often fresher
They are typically fresher as they are not preserved using chemical preservatives or agents. Hence these foods have shorter shelf life than the ones that are conventionally grown. This leads to quicker and more regular replenishment of fresher stock for consumption.
4. Organic farming is greener
Besides delivering health benefits, organic farming is better for the environment. These farming practices work to reduce air pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion and increase soil fertility, and consume lesser energy.
So, are organic foods right for me?