Organic Food - Is It Really Healthier?
Our dietary preferences and needs are highly personalized and sometimes complex. To a health-conscious consumer, choosing the highest quality food products means deciding on many choices. One of which that's a popular topic amongst health enthusiasts is organic food. What was once all the rave amongst dietitians and nutritionists is now part of a health-conscious lifestyle for millions of people. Yet how exactly is organic food different than non-organic food, if not better?
Is there a safer or more nutritious consumption of organic food?
Compared to the conventional process of growing food, there are possible benefits to one's health when eating organic foods, as shown by some data. Organic food can possess the following benefits:
- Higher levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Organic livestock farm animals usually contain omega-3 fatty acids in greater abundance due to stricter dietary standards, which include alfalfa and grass for cattle. Omega 3 fatty acids are an excellent fat alternative for better heart health, and high quantities are naturally found in eggs, organic meats, and dairy.
- Decreased levels of harmful bacteria.
In comparison to conventional methods of meat production, organic meats can have significantly less harmful strains of bacteria that may be resistant to antibiotics. However, in contrast to conventional foods, the general likelihood of bacterial contamination of organic foods is no different.
- Higher nutrient density.
Organic produce has small to medium increases of specific nutrients, as proven by research. More specifically, these increases can occur in particular flavonoids and antioxidants.
- Reduced quantities of toxic metals.
Plants absorb a poisonous chemical known as cadmium, which naturally occurs in their soil. As proven by studies, organic grains have decreased amounts of cadmium compared to conventionally grown crops. However, organic vegetables and fruits do not contain reduced levels of cadmium. The prohibition of manufactured fertilizers in organic agriculture may also have played a role in the decrease of cadmium in organic grains.
- Lowered amounts of residual pesticide.
Produce grown organically has decreased amounts of residual pesticide compared to conventionally grown produce. Conventional produce has undergone stricter safety standards for residual pesticide levels allowed, and the maximum quantity allowed has decreased in most cases. Due to conventional agriculture airborne pesticides, or due to the pesticides permitted for organic agriculture, pesticide residue may be found within organic produce.
Facts To Remember When Buying Organically
- Only growth hormone and antibiotic-free animals can be labeled as organic meat or produce organic dairy and eggs.
- Food must comply with strict USDA organic standards to receive an organic label. In addition, foods are not organic if they have different titles, such as "hormone-free," "natural," or "free range."
- Organic certification labeling falls into three tiers:
- The USDA seal can be applied with "Organic."
- The USDA seal can be used with "100 percent organic."
- The USDA seal cannot be applied to at least 70 percent of organic-certified ingredients in a product. This would typically be seen as "Made with organic ingredients."