When it comes to healthy eating, many people suggest eating organic food as opposed to processed food. Organic food at the supermarket has become more commonplace as more people are becoming more health-aware and eco-conscious about the choices they make with their food. Food products can be labeled organic, or natural, but sometimes it’s hard to tell what that means exactly.
Organic food, simply put, is food that is produced through organic farming methods as opposed to conventional farming methods. This means that organic food is made without chemicals or additives, like pesticides and food coloring.
Because organic food is produced without any harmful additives, it is believed to be healthier for both consumption and the environment. Many people say that organic food tastes better too, since it’s fresher and more natural.
Organic Food for Your Health
Organic food isn’t just limited to what’s grown in a garden – livestock can also be organic. So, if you want a healthier diet, introducing organic meats, dairy, and greens is a good start.
But how is organic food better? For starters, organic food is not treated with chemicals or genetically modified.This means that you are consuming less chemicals in your food and in turn, can reduce exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and any health risks from pesticide residue. Organic foods also:
- Have more antioxidants
- Have more nutrients
- Have lower nitrate levels
Higher levels of antioxidants and nutrients means more vitamin and mineral consumption for the body, which can help prevent the development of diseases and illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. Antioxidants also help to repair any skin damage or cell damage from free radicals, and help keep the skin looking younger and healthier. Some nutrients and antioxidants that can be found in higher levels in organic foods include Vitamin C, zinc, and iron.
Organic foods can also help boost your immune system’s strength. Many genetically modified foods are done so with the purpose of making that product either bigger or healthier, but that’s not always the intended result for human consumption. Genetically modified foods have been linked to weaker immune systems and sensitivity to allergens. Since organic food is not genetically modified, and full of nutrients, it can help improve your immune system.
Organic Food for the Environment
Another reason that organic food is popular is because of its impact on the environment. Since organic food farming methods are similar to pre-industrial farming methods, there’s reduced pollution. Methods like crop rotation improve soil quality and groundwater conservation, and the avoidance of chemical sprays also means less ground and air pollution as well.
Other ways organic food production benefits the environment include:
- Less energy generated
- Reduces erosion
- Fights against global warming
- Supports wildlife
Because pesticides and chemicals aren’t used in organic food production, the environment around organic farms thrive. This means that nearby wildlife isn’t affected by any toxic chemicals, and the biodiversity of the land can continue. The preservation of the land leads to healthier animals all around, not just farm animals.
Additionally, organic food production is usually tied to local or neighborhood markets. This means that less energy is used overall to get the organic food on someone’s plate, and reduces the carbon footprint as well.
Organic food is also beneficial for the environment due to the better animal welfare in organic farming. Animals that are raised to be organic food products are not fed or injected hormones or antibiotics, which are used to increase the production of the animal. Hormones, for example, are given to cows to increase their size, feed efficacy, and lean meat. This is more of a moral standpoint, in that cows and other livestock should not be fattened up of forced to grow in size just to provide meat.
But bigger, larger animals also need more care and more land for grazing, which results in deforestation. By switching to organic food and supporting organic farming methods, the environment is less likely at risk to be cleared away to meet consumer demands.
The push for organic food comes from the same social conscious wave of promoting healthier lifestyles – including shopping for local produce or growing your own. Agriculture is a complicated industry that has to keep up with the demands of globalization. By switching to organic food, you as a consumer can minimize the impact that agriculture has on the environment while also improving your health. It’s a win-win!