Organic Food – What You Should Know About Organic Food
Organic food has many benefits, including nutrition. But is organic food “superfoods” better than traditional food? Many people are concerned about pesticides and growth hormones in traditional foods. Others are concerned about chemicals used in growing plants or preservatives in processed foods. Others are concerned about the lack of trace minerals found in non-organic produce.
Organic food is food grown using methods consistent with organic agriculture. Organic farming practices vary internationally, but organic agriculture uses practices that preserve biodiversity, restore ecological balance, cycle natural resources, and promote environmental sustainability. This results in a higher quality of life and a stronger foundation for sustainable development. As organic foods gain recognition around the world, the debate rages about whether organically grown foods are nutritionally adequate compared to conventional foods.
The USDA organic seal means that the product meets U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy requirements for organically grown foods. Some farmers in the United States grow their products without the USDA seal. Some farmers in the United States do not grow products that come directly from seed to harvest. They have formed certification organizations to help customers recognize organically grown products. The USDA organic seal serves as a warning to potential organic food buyers that the product is safe and free of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
Consumers may distinguish organic foods from conventional foods because of differences in nutrient content. Organic foods usually contain lower levels of artificial and synthetic substances, fewer pesticides, fewer antibiotics, and no growth hormones. The lack of artificial additives and hormones does not mean lower nutrient content. Organic produce may also have a lower level of fat, sodium or cholesterol because these substances are not naturally present in conventional produce.
Organic food does not always mean organically grown. Conventional foods may be grown using the same growing techniques, but the source may not be organically certified. For example, most cottonseed is grown using chemical pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals that are considered harmful to people’s health. In comparison, many non-organic foods are grown using methods that do not cause adverse side effects.
Organically grown crops also typically contain more antioxidants than conventionally grown crops. The reason is that plants that are grown organically do not have the same exposure to environmental toxins as conventionally grown crops. One such environmental toxin is Bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in plastic and cans. Other toxins, such as pesticides and herbicides, may be present in non-organic foods. Thus, even if a food has less toxins than conventionally grown crops, consuming it may cause some harm to the body.
When it comes to choosing organically grown foods, one of the best ways to ensure that we are eating safe and healthy foods is to purchase USDA certified organic foods. A USDA certified seal means that the product meets strict requirements for quality and purity. In order to receive this certification, the product must adhere to specific guidelines. One such guideline is the fact that the product must be free from any artificial preservatives or colorings. The USDA does not approve synthetic fertilizers or hormones, either.
Many farmers grow vegetables and fruits using more natural practices. Some of these practices include using manure as a fertilizer, composting food waste, planting cover crops, and using natural pest control methods, including natural predators, birds, insects, worms, and lizards. Some farmers grow fruit and vegetables organically on their own farms, without using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Others grow vegetables and fruits on a commercial scale, using manure and synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and heavy metals. Regardless of what method is used, organic agriculture promotes biodiversity, protects natural water sources, promotes the conservation of wildlife, promotes the conservation of soils, promotes renewable energy, promotes the conservation of forests, promotes an environmental stewarding program, protects the health of the soil and air, promotes healthy ecosystems, protects the rights of the poor and vulnerable, preserves the land and wildlife, promotes good health for animals, humans, and the environment, and promotes spiritual health.