Organic food has been the buzzword for quite some time now. The surge in interest in organic food products is attributed to a number of reasons, some of which are comprehensible and others not so much. One thing is certain – there is no denying that people are beginning to look more closely at what they eat. More, people are becoming concerned about the impact of their food on their health and the health of the environment.
Organic food is food manufactured by processes complying with the requirements of organic agriculture. Organic agriculture refers to the use of natural composts, manure and pesticides as opposed to the conventional, chemical-based systems used in conventional farming. Organic farming practices certain nutrients, including natural vitamins and minerals in their products as well as manure, which help to breakdown food. Organic food also relies on the use of non-toxic fertilizers, antibiotics and growth hormones.
Organic farming is highly beneficial to the environment. The use of natural composts reduces the use of finite resources such as water and energy. This leads to a reduction in the carbon footprint of the overall system, something the larger, conventional farms are less prone to. Since organic food needs a smaller environmental footprint to thrive, this means that the healthier food industry is playing an important role in minimizing the negative impact on the environment.
While organic food production methods differ from the conventional methods of farming, there is one similarity – no synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers are used. In addition, farmers must resort to conservation methods, such as planting cover crops and ensuring that residue from insecticides does not accumulate on the crop itself. There are also several rules and regulations pertaining to the use of chemicals on crops. Some of these rules have been implemented as regulations by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) while others are voluntary. Still, the goal is to reduce chemical residues, which can be linked to health problems including allergies, asthma, cancer and various other ailments.
Because organic meat has a lower fat content, it is higher in dietary fiber, which is important for preventing heart disease. The fat content in conventionally raised animals is not as high as it is in organic meat, which can result in a balanced diet. A study conducted in Canada that compared conventional and organic beef showed that there was a significantly lower occurrence of inflammatory diseases in the latter. The study indicated that these diseases were more prevalent in cattle that had been fed on an organic diet. Among the diseases found in conventional beef were cancer, arthritis and mastitis.
Although some people believe that organic foods taste better, scientific studies have shown otherwise. In fact, many of the same flavor compounds found in organically raised foods may be found in organically raised foods, but the difference is that they don’t contain the additives conventionally raised animals are fed. Some of these chemicals, called nitrates and nitrites, cause the meats to have a stronger taste, which may make the consumer pay more for the higher quality. Organic food also contains fewer calories and fat, allowing the consumer to feel good about the choices they make.
Consumers may find that organic food helps to make their lives healthier. They may find that they spend less time at the dentist and that they are less likely to become sick on a daily basis. Organic foods taste better, which may mean that consumers who love conventionally raised products will also find that they like organic food better.
There’s no denying that consumers who opt for organic food may enjoy a greater array of fruits and vegetables. It’s true that conventionally produced food contains more filler, such as corn and wheat, which makes it difficult for the farmer to get the full nutrients out of the crop. Organic farmers know how to grow plants so that they’re able to deliver high-quality crops to retailers. If organic food can provide as many health benefits as conventionally produced food can, why wouldn’t consumers choose it?