Organic food is food produced in ways complying with the strict requirements of organic agriculture. Organic farming involves practices that recycle agricultural resources, promote natural balance, and preserve biodiversity. Because organic farmers do not use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, there is a reduced risk of toxins entering the soil, water, air, or food. The reduced risk of toxic chemicals helps prevent soil erosion and contributes to healthy plant growth.
Organic foods do not contain artificial colors, flavors, or nutrients (natural vitamins and minerals) because they are grown without the aid of synthetic materials or additives. Organic foods do not include drugs, synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, or hormones. Organic foods that have been processed are labeled as “organic” if the minimum requirements of organic agriculture have been met. However, even organically grown foods may still use artificial substances, especially when these ingredients are derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It is important to read the label of any foods you buy to make sure that the product does not contain any ingredients that have been added with a genetic modification. This can indicate that the organic foods in question have had unnatural ingredients added at some point.
There has been one significant study on the topic. In one study, chickens fed organic foods lived two years longer than those fed a conventional diet. They also showed signs of more activity and were of a higher quality of overall health. One of the causes of these greater life spans has been linked to the antioxidants in organically grown foods. Antioxidants can help fight heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.
According to the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers have concluded that consuming a diet rich in antioxidant-rich foods can slow down the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The study also suggests that consuming organic fruit and vegetables could reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. It is not uncommon for organic foods to be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals; it is recommended that anyone caring for the health of his or her family eats non-organic produce in place of organic produce whenever possible.
So what exactly is organic really means? Organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides or other chemicals. No fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides are used on the land. These foods are usually produced from natural ingredients like manure from animals raised for food and plants from organic gardens.
Since the chemicals typically used on farms do not reach their intended destinations, they become harmful to the environment. Some studies have indicated that farmers using insecticides and pesticides may be at a greater risk of developing various kinds of cancer. Another problem with pesticides is that they tend to create higher levels of nitrate salts in the soil, which can damage the roots of plants. High levels of nitrate salts can result in “soil salting”, which kills a crop. This means the farmer will have to wait several years for the crops to grow out of that contaminated soil, instead of just planting a crop the first time around. Organic foods can be a better choice for many consumers, as they are generally grown without the use of harmful chemicals.
While the cost may seem like a factor for some consumers when choosing organic, it is important to consider the actual cost of purchasing the actual food itself. While non-organic equivalents often cost less than organic produce, the actual cost per serving can be much higher. One fourth of the cost of organic products goes towards the packaging, and many of the ingredients needed to make the non-organic equivalent also cost more. This means that by buying the non-organic equivalent directly from the farmers market can save consumers money.
As more consumers begin to understand how much money can be saved by buying food online, the demand for organically produced ingredients will increase. The lower cost per serving allows consumers to buy less each month. The increased convenience of ordering food online can allow consumers to keep their kitchen stocked with organic items and cook them without having to leave the house. Even if you cannot afford organic products right now, as the economy improves the cost will likely go down. As long as consumers continue to demand higher quality food and avoid eating unhealthy non-organic foods, the demand will remain strong and the benefits of eating organically will remain true.