All of those people who you have likely called a “health nut” because of their organic activism actually do have valid arguments. Organic food is better for you and it is not just a gimmick or ploy by the farmers and retail food chains to siphon more money out of your grocery budget. A number of studies have been conducted that claim there is no nutritional difference between organic food and non-organic food but they do not necessarily take into account how the food is harvested or whether pesticides or food additives have been employed.
Higher Nutrition With Organic
Organic foods are defined by how they are produced – typically pesticide-free, with no artificial food additives and fertilizers and no contamination from traditional industrial or human waste. The practice of harvesting fruits and vegetables early and allowing them to ripen off the vine or plant reduces nutrients as does storing them for longer periods of time. In addition, some artificial fertilizers boost the water content of fruits and vegetables, weighing them down and causing them to be picked sooner so the bottom line is fewer nutrients than an organic equivalent.
Organic food, particularly fruits and vegetables, have higher nutritional value due to a larger concentration of phytochemicals, a type of antioxidant that is often suppressed when fertilizers and pesticides are used. The use of pesticides is often a necessity in larger scale farms to protect crops from insects and disease. For people who do not properly wash their food or the harvesters who are not stringent on procedure, these pesticides could make you sick. And for those with vulnerable immune systems like the elderly and young children, this could prove to be deadly.
The overall safety of organic food has never been in doubt, only the comparison of nutrition between organic versus non-organic. While there are studies that prove nutritional value is comparable between the two, there are many more that say organic traditionally scores higher in the natural chemicals like lycopene, flavonols and phytochemicals. This is especially beneficial when it comes to organic baby food as “regular” foods could introduce those pesticides, food additives and more at an early age when the brain is still forming, a most crucial development time for babies.
Non-harvested foods such as those that come from livestock like pigs, cows and poultry can also be deemed organic food as long as certain standards are followed. For instance, growth hormones and antibiotics cannot be given to these animals as they can affect the nutritional value and even the taste of the meat, once the animal has been slaughtered.
The bottom line is there are many benefits to purchasing and consuming organic food such as higher nutritional value, no food additives and chemicals and no pesticides. For people who wish to live a longer, healthier life, organic food is the best option. And thanks to the rise in organic sales, prices are falling more in line with the “regular” non-organic foods, making it an affordable lifestyle choice for many.