Science Backed Health Benefits Of Eating Organic

Science supports the claim that Organic Foods are better for us 

It seems like everyone is talking about eating organic these days... But what exactly are the health benefits of eating organic? Some eat organic foods because it’s better for the environment and some do it for health-related reasons. Why is eating organic a smarter choice for the environment and our health? If you're choosing to buy healthier foods, we encourage you to take a look at some of the science-backed benefits of eating organic.

Organic food reduces our exposure to chemicals.

Foods labeled as organic are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers.  While these chemicals have been deemed safe in the quantities that are used for conventional farming, health experts still warn about the potential harms of repeated exposure. A study published by Environmental Research found that families who switched to eating a completely organic diet, after 6 days, had reduced traces of pesticides in their system by an average of 60 percent.

For example, Monsanto's well-known herbicide Roundup has been classified as a "probable human carcinogen" and the insecticide chlorpyrifos has been associated with developmental delay in infants. Studies have also suggested that pesticide residues, found in the urine of kids in the United States, may contribute to ADHD prevalence, and has also been linked to reduced sperm quality in men. Unfortunately, many people and parents are unaware of the potential risks we take exposure ourselves and our families to foods that can actually contribute to potentially harmful toxin overload.

Organic food has more healthy fats.

The omega-3 fatty acids in organic meat are shown to be significantly higher than conventional meat. Organic milk and meat products are shown to have about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids, than conventionally produced products, according to a 2016 study in the British Journal of Nutrition. The organic milk tested in this particular study also had less saturated fat than non-organic milk.

These differences may come from the way organic livestock is raised, using a grass-fed diet and more time spent outdoors. It's believed that switching from conventional to organic products would raise consumers’ omega-3 intake without increasing overall calories or saturated fat.

Organic Milk

Organic food contains no antibiotics or synthetic hormones.

Conventional livestock are fed antibiotics to protect against illness, making it easier for farmers to raise animals in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Also, (except poultry) conventionally raised animals can also be injected with synthetic growth hormones, so they’ll gain weight faster or produce more milk. Organic meat and dairy are all raised without the use of hormones, whereas, conventionally raised animals are typically given hormones to produce faster growth. 

Organic food is GMO-free

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic products are prohibited from having genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic food is GMO-free, which means that the organisms were not genetically engineered or modified in any way (usually done to make them grow faster or bigger). 

Organic food can lead to more nutritious or vitamin-enriched fruits and vegetables.

According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that organic onions have about a 20% higher antioxidant content than non-organic onions. When crops are sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, the critical microbes in our soils get destroyed! Without synthetic chemicals in the soil, organic crops are able to extract the healthy minerals and nutrients they need from the ground,  leading to more vitamin-rich food. 

Organic food is better for the environment.

Organic farming reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility, and uses less energy overall. Farming without pesticides is better for the health of the animals, the farmers and the people who live close to the farms, as it reduces their exposure to those chemicals. 

Certified Organic Labeling
How to tell if your food is organic.

Always look for the USDA Certified Organic label on your foods. Don’t be fooled by terms using words like “natural” or “made with real fruit” or “reduced sugar” when buying packaged foods. Food companies can put a lot of words and imagery on their packaging to make it seem healthier, when in reality it might not be. 

To be labeled as “Organic", according to the USDA a food product has to contain at least 95% organic ingredients. And if an item says “Made with Organic,” that means it contains at least 70% organically produced ingredients. But, in order for a raw or processed agricultural product to be considered 100% organic, all ingredients must be certified organic, all processing aids must be organic, plus the product label must state the name of the certifying agent. That’s why most people consider the USDA Certified Organic label as gold standard. 

Organic Eggs

The bottom line

Organic foods are usually more expensive than non-organic. If you can afford it, that’s fantastic, but it’s not possible for some people. Pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people suffering from allergies or health issues, are the ones that may benefit the most by organic foods. If you can't afford to eat 100% organic, the most important foods to buy organic are the foods you eat daily, like eggs, dairy, meat and produce, while making sure to avoid foods that are listed on the Dirty Dozen list. The Dirty Dozen List can help guide you by giving you a list of produce that is known to contain the highest levels of pesticides, which you would want to avoid consuming to reduce exposure to these toxins.  

Remember, eating a partially organic diet is better than not eating organic at all. Just like conventional food, shop around, look for sales or find a brand of organic food that cost less than another. You could also order subscription food boxes of organic food that can save you money in bulk, or buy from local farms that sell organic produce, meat and eggs. Famer's Markets can be another great option to find deals on farm-fresh, high-quality organic foods and organic fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. If you take the time to search for the best deal, you might find that eating organic is actually in your budget!    


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