Why you should seriously consider buying Organic Foods

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What are Organic Foods?

Consider two apples sitting side by side: The first is picture-perfect, almost plastic looking, while the other has a few minor blemishes and looks like it was just picked from a tree. Biting into the first apple, you experience a bland flavor and chalky texture. Biting into the second apple, sweet juice literally trickles from the corners of your mouth.

The first apple is a creation of modern industrial farming. Sprayed with pesticides from infancy and then polished and waxed with more chemicals after picking, it harbors a toxic secret. It looks flawless but contains residues from these harmful chemicals. The second apple is organic. It did not require any chemicals, pesticides, or artificial beauty treatments- just sunlight, rain, and the nurturing forces of Mother Nature.

Organic foods are those produced in rich, fertile soils without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Organic farming also shuns genetic modification, irradiation, and the use of sewer sludge as fertilizer. In addition to organic fruits and vegetables, you can now also buy organically grown grains, legumes, nuts, oils, sugars, teas, wines, and a variety of other foods and beverages. Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They are not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products.

 

 

Why Organic Food is better for you

Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.
Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat.

Organic food is often fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is often (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.

Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.

Organically raised animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. Feeding livestock animal byproducts increases the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Organically raised animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which help to keep them healthy.

Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients. Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.

Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide. GMOs have been linked to increased food allergens and gastro-intestinal problems in humans. While many people think that altering the DNA of a plant or animal can increase the risk of cancer, the research has so far proven inconclusive. Do you want to take the risk and perhaps become a statistic one day or would you rather play safe? More about GMOs later in this post.

 

Does organic mean pesticide-free?

As mentioned above, one of the primary benefits of eating organic is lower levels of pesticides. However, despite popular belief, organic farms do use pesticides. The difference is that they only use naturally-derived pesticides, rather than the synthetic pesticides used on conventional commercial farms. Natural pesticides are believed to be less toxic, however, some have been found to have health risks. Your exposure to harmful pesticides will be lower when eating organic.

 

What are the possible risks of pesticides?

Most of us have an accumulated build-up of pesticide exposure in our bodies due to numerous years of exposure. This chemical “body burden” as it is medically known could lead to health issues such as headaches, birth defects, and added strain on weakened immune systems.

Studies have indicated that the use of pesticides even at low doses can increase the risk of leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Children and fetuses are most vulnerable to pesticide exposure because their immune systems, bodies, and brains are still developing. Exposure at an early age may cause developmental delays, behavioral disorders, autism, immune system harm, and motor dysfunction.

Pregnant women are more vulnerable due to the added stress pesticides put on their already taxed organs. Plus, pesticides can be passed from mother to child in the womb, as well as through breast milk.

 

What are Genetically Modified Foods (GM)

Consider two potatoes side by side. The first potato is a large, fresh, organic variety. The second is also large and fresh, but a little different. Lab technicians inserted artificial genes into this potato to create bacterial pesticides in each of its cells. After nibbling from this variety, beetles and other insects will die. The first potato is an ancient staple. The second is a technological creation. While the newer potato may sound less appetizing and even a bit frightening, this type of genetically modified food is entering our food chain at a staggering rate.

The most common GM foods include varieties of soy, corn, cotton, and canola designed to withstand large sprayings of chemical herbicides. Other GM foods currently on the market include tomatoes, papayas, daikon, sugar beets, potatoes, yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, radicchio, and flax. The genetically-modified growth hormone, rBGH, is also widely used to increase milk production in cows. Dozens of other foods are currently in advanced stages of testing. These include salmon that grow four times faster than normal breeds, cantaloupes that ripen at slower rates (for longer shelf-life), and corn that produces pharmaceutical proteins for blood clotting medications and other drugs.

At this point, you may be wondering how to avoid GM foods in your own diet. Organic foods may not contain any GM ingredients. Buying organically is therefore one way to avoid these foods. If you are not able to buy organically, then you can familiarize yourself with common GM ingredients and avoid these when possible.

And so, on your next trip to the supermarket, before you ignore the Organic Food aisle, ask yourself if the money you will save is more valuable than your health. Is it worth increasing your risk of cancer and/or other diseases to save yourself a bucks?

 

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