Sunday, July 11, 2010

Top 10 Advantages and Benefits of Buying Organic Food

What are the benefits of organic food? I have been to the grocery store and compared a bag of regular apples for $.99 per pound, to organic apples which cost $2.20 per pound! Is it worth the extra cost?  To answer this, we have to first clarify what “organic” means. Organic food is produced by farmers who avoid the use of bio-persistent non-selective chemical pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers.  In other words, organic food is grown naturally without the use of toxins. After much research, I've found these top ten advantages:

1) No pesticides - Organic food is grown and produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, which have been linked to health concerns like cancers and to neuro-behavioral effects including ADHD and autism in children. 

2) Natural and unprocessed - Organic  foods are produced without the use of antibiotics and synthetic hormones.  Studies have shown that overuse of antibiotics in agriculture  can build up the antibiotic-resistant bacteria in your body. If you get sick later on and need to take antibiotics, you may be resistant or even allergic, which puts you in a very dangerous position.

3) Safer - Organic foods are much safer for babies, young children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. They have no artificial coloring, preservatives and are certified by organic food standards. This gives peace of mind to parents who were concerned about the health risks of feeding children chemically modified food. (i)

4) Tastes better – Science has now proven what many people have known all along - that organic foods, especially fruit and vegetables, taste much fresher and flavorful than conventional food. Researchers at Washington State University have conducted lab taste trials which show that organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. (iii)

5) GM free - Organic and all-natural processed foods contain no artificial ingredients including coloring and preservatives, some of which have been linked to behavior problems in children.(ii)

6) Healthier - Organic foods pack in more nutrients per serving. New research verifies that some organic produce is lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food.

7) Better for the planet - Organic and all natural food production is better for the land. Organic farmers emphasize the use of renewable (or sustainable) resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. 

8) Helps prevent climate change - Organic foods use less fuel as they are not farmed using intensive machine-heavy methods.

9) Reduces the demand for oil – organic fruits and vegetables use far less fossil fuel to transport from the farm to the store.  This UN report shows that you drastically reduce your carbon footprint and benefit the environment by eating organic (vegan) food.

10) In harmony with nature
- Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things.  Organic farms are often a wonderful hub of animal insect and bird activity. They promote biodiversity and are the equivalent of reforestation.

Organic food may be more expensive now, but if we continue to vote with our dollar every time we go to the grocery store, more supermarkets will provide organic produce. This increases competition and in turn will lower the price. As always, the consumer has the power!
For more info on whether organic food is worth the cost, check out this article here.
(i) Bouchard MF, Bellinger DC, Wright RO, Weisskopf MG.Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and urinary metabolites of organophosphate pesticides.  Pediatrics. 2010 Jun;125(6):e1270-7.    
(ii) McCann D, Barrett A, Cooper A, et al. Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2007 Nov 3;370(9598):1560-7.
iii) Top 10 Reasons to Support Organic in the 21st Century -

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