As the quest to live a healthy lifestyle continues to take root, the topic on organic vs conventional food is getting hotter every day. The thought that organic foods are more nutritious and delicious drives many consumers into preferring organic foods over conventionally-grown foods. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why sales of organic foods hit the roof despite the high cost. However, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Stanford University, there is no scientific evidence showing a significant difference between the nutritional value of these foods. The fact is that organic food is more expensive than the regular one. But, is organic food healthier? Is it worth the price? Today’s post explores the facts behind organic foods, including its health benefits.
What Makes Organic Products ‘Organic’?
Unlike conventional food production, organic farmers don’t use synthetic fertilizers. Instead, they use compost or animal manure, which according to John Reganold, a professor at Washington State University, helps to build the soil. When this compost decomposes, nutrients are slowly released into the soil, and this could increase the yields, especially during a drought period.
Whether it’s meat, milk, poultry or dairy products, unless the animals are fed on organic feed and not injected with antibiotics or growth hormones, then vendors are not allowed to label their products as organic. Since there are no chemicals, pesticides or hormones used to speed the production and growth of crops or animals, more people are turning to organic foods because of the little exposure to harmful substances.
Why Organic Foods Are Expensive
In comparison, organic foods will cost you twice or thrice the price of conventionally farmed produce. When you consider the labor that goes into organic farming, it makes sense. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t allow the use of any kind of chemicals including sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, and bioengineering in the production of organic foods. For this reason, the yields may not be as favorable as conventionally-grown farm produce.
The use of compost and animal manure is slow and the nutrients mix with soil over time. Organic farmers spend more time looking after their crops or animals. On top of that, the shelf life of organic foods is shorter. If you want to avoid chemicals in foods, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), recommends going organic on the ‘dirty dozen’ foods. This is a list of foods whose pesticide residue is higher than the allowed level. Some few examples in this category include:
Benefits of Organic Foods Environment-Friendly
Organic foods use less energy, which means there is less air, soil, and groundwater pollution. This maintains the fertility of soil over a long period of time.
No Growth Hormones
The majority of U.S. farmers inject their animals with growth hormones to make them grow at a faster rate and increase milk production. This could lead to many kinds of diseases in humans. On the other hand, organic foods don’t use any chemicals, which makes them clean and a healthier choice.
Although there are no real results showing organic foods to be full of nutrients, advocates for organic foods claim that they contain more minerals and vitamins compared to conventional foods.
Is Organic Food Healthier?
For those concerned with healthy living, one must wonder if organic foods provide more nutritional value than conventional farm produce. According to experts, it’s difficult to draw a clear line concerning the nutritional quality of foods. This is because no fresh foods offer the same nutritional profile, even two apples from different trees. While some organic foods contain more nutrients than others, it’s difficult to say the same for other foods. There are so many factors that determine the nutrition of the food you buy. This includes climate, soil structure, processing, and location. For instance, if you have access to an organic farm, chances are high that you’ll get more nutritional value compared to another person who eats frozen organic fruits and vegetables.
How to Buy Organic Foods
A major issue that seems to be left out of the debate on organic foods is that the majority of Americans are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. We should increase our intake of these important foods to enrich our supply of minerals and vitamins before we start worrying about getting a few extra antioxidants from organic fruits. It’s important to point out here that if you can’t afford organic foods, it doesn’t mean you will miss out on crucial nutrients.
There are various steps that you can do to reduce the level of risks associated with conventional farm products. First, peel fruits and vegetables because most chemicals accumulate on the layer. Secondly, opt for lean meat since chemicals tend to accumulate on fat residues. Finally, be sure to thoroughly wash any fresh produce before consuming it to remove bacteria and pesticide residue from the covers. The best option, however, is to grow your own vegetables and fruits garden.
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