Organic, organic, organic!
17th January, 2016
With organic food gaining popularity in shops and markets, have you ever wondered what the deal was?
Value for money
On average, organic fruit and vegetables are 10% more expensive than non-organic food. But before you let this be the reason that you put the idea of organic food to the side, consider this:
Organic foods contain on average 13% less water. In the western world we have free access to water; so by buying organic foods, you are gaining 3% more food substance for your money, and because you are getting more actual food content, it fills you up more and you need to eat less.
There is a difference between the taste of organic and non-organic fruit and vegetables. If you have ever done a taste test, you will know what I mean. This alone is a reason why many people switch to using organic foods.
Many studies have demonstrated the increased nutrient content of organic foods. There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about one study which showed there was difference in the nutrition content of organic and non-organic foods. When looking at studies and research, it is important to look at all the research and make conclusions based on the bigger picture. Yes, one study did show there was no difference, but what the media failed to report on is the many other studies that showed there was significantly more nutritional value to organic foods. This is because of the farming methods used. In organic farming, crops are rotated and not so intensively farmed, leaving the soils nutrient rich. Non-organic farming methods deplete the soils and the farmers rely on extra fertilisers, which eventually changes the natural balance of nutrition.
Whoever thought that growing our foods along with poisons was a good idea?
Organic fruit and vegetables are grown and produced using only a select few of natural chemicals, which are allowed to be used on organic produce, as set out in the plant protection regulations and the certifying organic bodies. Non-organic foods however are allowed far more chemicals and man-made chemicals, which are harder for your body to process and deal with, as well as having a detrimental effect on the environment.
Livestock is a whole different game. Non-organic meat is usually intensively farmed and the living conditions usually present means that diseases are prevalent. Antibiotics are given as routine to livestock to prevent infection. This however leaves the meat provided with antibiotic residue. In a society that is quickly becoming antibiotic resistant, I’m not sure that eating non-organic meat is such a good idea. Non-organic livestock are usually fed fully on grains and processed foods, leaving the meat they provide us with omega-6 rather than omega-3. Organic and free range livestock have access to grass (and insects for poultry). This means that the meat is higher in omega-3 than non-grass fed meats.
We also need to consider the welfare of the animals that we are eating. As a responsible human sharing the earth, it is our duty to care and offer consideration to the animals that we raise for food. Stressed animals produce a lot of stress hormones which is present in meat; while relaxed animals produce less stress hormones. Some organic-box-scheme companies have slaughtering methods which are designed to keep the animals relaxed and unaware of what is happening.
There is something known as the health-chemical gap. This is where the nutrition content of our food has decreased, while the chemical content of our food and environment has gone up. When we consume chemicals in any form, our body uses up nutrition to process them. Our modern lives are so full of toxins and our bodies are struggling to cope, which is leading to biological stress and disease.
There are so many environmental issues surrounding non-organic produce, such as environmental contamination with chemicals and the impact on the ecosystem wildlife. One of the main concerns are the bees. Some of the chemicals used are toxic to bees and bees are more valuable to human existence than most people realise. Bees fertilise our crops and provide the next generation of plant foods for us. It is estimated that if bees were to be wiped out, humans would also be wiped out within five years.
Social and economic issues
There are some social issues surrounding the production of non-organic foods. One example is that some banana plantations do not provide gloves to their workers. When the workers are washing the bananas, the water opens up the pores on the workers hands, allowing easy chemicals to be absorbed quickly and giving the workers chemical burns. If the sales of organic food rise, more farmers would be interested and able to organic farm, leaving the world in a much better place.
Organic food companies understand the importance of quality food. In fact, some of the box-scheme companies are aiming to get the food from the field and to your door within 48 hours. That’s a lot fresher than standard supermarket veg!
Educating and inspiring young children
The benefits of having an organic vegetable box may reach further than you first thought. Boxes that are delivered to your door once a week offer young children the opportunity to get excited and learn about different fruits and vegetables. It’s like receiving a parcel once a week and each week, letting your children open the box, touch, smell and even taste the foods delivered.
Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.
Top recent articles
Severine Menem, DipNT mBANT rCNHCJuly 9th, 2017
Helen Morton BSc (Hons), DipION, mBANT, mCNHCJuly 7th, 2017
Most viewed articles
Claire Hargreaves BSc Hons (NutriKind Nutrition)September 6th, 2013
Megan B Grover BSc, MMedSci, ANutrMay 16th, 2013