Every time we go to the store, we see the label: “organic.” We’re told it’s important for our health to eat organic foods, but why? Are there real advantages to eating food that is farmed using organic methods, or is it just another buzzword?
The good news is that there really are some great reasons to choose organic food over regular options. At Mother’s Juice Cafe, we love using organic ingredients in both our meals and juices- and our guests love the taste and quality. However, it’s important to weigh the benefits before shelling out your hard-earned cash, which is exactly what we’ll discuss in this article. Let’s get to it!
What Does It Mean to Be Organic?
Food labels can be confusing. When you see something marked as “organic,” what does it really mean? Put simply, organic crops cannot be grown using synthetic additives like pesticides or chemical fertilizers. What’s more, they must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering.
For meat and dairy products, animals are required to be fed with organic feed and have access to the outdoors. They also cannot be given animal byproducts, antibiotics, or growth hormones.
If all of this sounds good—then great! But you still have to be careful. Food that is labeled as “Certified Organic” or “USDA Organic” may not be entirely organic. The USDA only requires the ingredients in such products to be 95% organic (not counting water and salt). This may sound small, but for those with allergies or chemical sensitivities, it can be important to find foods labelled as “100% Organic.”
Why Eating Organic Food Is Important (5 Key Reasons)
Although you may pay a little extra, organic foods offer a number of important benefits. In fact, they can have a serious impact on your physical and mental health, not to mention being much better for the environment. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why it might be time to go organic.
1. Fewer Pesticides and Chemical Additives
One of the main reasons to choose organic foods is to avoid chemicals that may be harmful to your health. Herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are widely used in conventional farming methods and studies have linked these chemicals to cancer, birth defects, ADHD, and even Alzheimer’s disease. What’s worse, pesticides can potentially harm the nervous and reproductive systems. On top of that, when these chemicals are used, they can be found on food, and also in it, making it impossible to avoid them entirely. Although it should be noted that even in organically produced food, traces of these harmful chemicals are still sometimes found, albeit in much smaller quantities.
2. Less Likely to Be Contaminated By Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
When it comes to meat and dairy products produced organically, synthetic antibiotics cannot be added to animal feed, as is often done in traditional agriculture. This helps to prevent the spreading of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can make us sick.
Organically-raised animals are also given more space to move and access to the outdoors, which tends to make them healthier. They are also not given animal byproducts that increase the risk of mad cow disease (BSE).
3. Possible Increases in Nutritional Value
Whether or not organic food contains higher nutritional levels than conventional food is a hotly debated topic. According to a study conducted by scientists at Stanford University, they found that most fruits and vegetables labeled as organic had no more vitamin C or other antioxidants than conventional ones.
However, it should be noted that since preservative chemicals are not used on organic foods, they do still tend to be fresher and therefore more nutritious. This is due to the fact that organic produce often comes from smaller farms that are closer to where they are sold.
4. Organic Farms Are Better for the Environment
Organic farming encourages environmentally-friendly practices, which is another reason you may decide to buy organic foods. In addition to not using herbicides and pesticides that can be harmful to nearby wildlife and people (not to mention the farmers themselves), it also employs the cycling of natural and sustainable resources.
The truth is, organic farms have a lower environmental impact than conventional ones. They use less energy, conserve water, and reduce soil erosion. What’s more, they decrease pollution. For this reason, it may be worth paying a little more for organic food.
5. Food Grown Organically Tastes Better
Lastly, some people choose organic food for a very simple reason: it tastes better. While this is, well, a matter of taste, fresher food does tend to be more flavorful. This can have more to do with the fact that a lot of organic food comes from local sources and is therefore picked when ripe and at its best quality.
Overall, there’s not a lot of data on this particular point, so you’ll have to see for yourself. It’s also important to note that not all locally-grown food is produced using organic methods. When in doubt, it never hurts to talk with farmers, especially at your local markets.
Are You Ready to Go Organic?
Well, are you? In reality, buying organic food over that which is regularly produced is a personal choice. There’s no right or wrong answer. It all depends on your chemical sensitivities, your priorities, and your budget.
Every consumer should make this decision based on their own needs. For some, it’s a matter of taste and quality, which can vary from product to product, whether it is organic or not.
However, it’s important to be aware of the potentially harmful chemicals in conventional foods to which you may be exposing yourself and your family. That, and if you like to put your money where your mouth is, and environmental sustainability is important to you, buying organic is a great place to start.
Whatever you choose to do, you should go into the decision knowing why it is important to consider organic food. Either way, may your heart be healthy, your appetite heartily satisfied, and your days full of joy! Bon appetit!