February 9, 2018
in Diet

Organic Produce and Benefits

Organic produce is anything grown through a farming system, which complies with the typical standards of farming, meaning the production process was without the use of any synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or synthetic fertilizers. Indeed, the benefits of organic produce are many, to not only humans but also to the environment.

So what exactly are the benefits of organic produce?

The evidence is conclusive that there is little presence of pesticide residue in organic produce in comparison with conventional produce. A build-up of this over time could cause adverse effects on your health. Below we shall look at the various benefits of organic produce.

Higher antioxidants levels

Organically grown produce, by and large, cut out the use of artificial fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. Different scientific studies show that these foods offer substantially higher levels of antioxidants than the conventionally grown produce.

Antioxidants minimize the damage of healthy cells caused by free radicals and improving the immune system, hence protecting the body from certain diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

However, organic farming does not automatically mean that its pesticide free. It means that the pesticides used are restricted or limited to certain specifications and you will be less exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals.

According to a study published in the food tank, researchers stated that organically produced foods contain as much as 60% more antioxidants than the conventionally produced ones. This is comparable to eating an additional 1 to 2 fruit or vegetable servings in a day.

However, there is still a big debate on whether organic foods are more nutritious and there is a dire need for more research on how to identify and quantify their health impacts.

They are GMO-free

Organic foods offer assurance against the risks of genetic engineering since the organic production strictly prohibits the use of GMO substances.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or bioengineered foods are foods produced from plants that have had alterations done to their DNA. This is commonly done for the introduction of new traits and to increase resistance to diseases or to produce insecticides on their own.

However, one of the main problems with the introduction of GMOs in plants is in the process of introducing the new genes into a plant’s DNA, which is random. This can be highly disruptive to other genes’ functioning, leading to the formation of novel proteins that could potentially lead to the creation of toxins in food.

Organic produce is often fresher

Organic foods do not contain preservatives that make them last longer, often making them fresher. And more so because they are commonly produced in small farms and sold in the same locality. The organic produce does not have chemicals and additives such as artificial flavors and colors, so they retain their natural flavors and you will find that they taste better.

Organic produce has healthier fats and nutrients

Research demonstrates that organic meats have a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids of about 50% than the conventional ones. This is in beef, chicken, pork, lamb and even goat.

Organic milk compared to the non-organic has 46% more omega-3 fatty acids, 13% more vitamin E as well as 20% more in iron. All because of the livestock’s healthful diet of grass and plants, organically produced as well.

Organic meat is free from antibiotics and growth hormones

Growth hormones are legally and illegally used to promote growth in livestock.Injecting growth promoters into young animals can help them grow faster, meaning more meat production within a short time, with reduced feed expenses. In dairy cows, synthetic hormones increase milk production, which ultimately leads to cheaper milk or meat for consumer and more revenue for the producer.

However, organic farming practice does not use antiobics or synthetic hormones. Consequently, organic meat, dairy products,and eggs generally contain minimal levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria – according to premilinary studies.

The livestock mostly grazes on hay, clovers, and grass in open fields and pastures where no chemicals or pesticides have been used. We are well aware that pesticides and the added synthetic hormones in conventional dairy farming have been linked to an increased risk to diseases such as cancer.

Getting the meat to you might be worrying, as you do not know exactly how the process is. Organic livestock is slaughtered in organic slaughterhouses to avoid contamination from the non-organic meat. And just like the farms, slaughterhouses are also inspected on a regular basis to ensure safety and proper hygiene.

Impact on the environment

Changes mostly observed in the environment occur slowly over time. Organic food production considers the long-term effect of agricultural interventions on the environment.

It uses many different soil building practices such as the use of organic fertilizers which improve soil formation and structure. These techniques help control soil erosion giving rise to more stable systems.

Organic farming through various management practices such as using cover crops and minimum tillage contributes to reducing the greenhouse effect and global warming. This is due to its ability to return carbon to the soil.

The cut down of use of harsh chemicals and pesticides on organic farms help mitigate water pollution inversely used in conventional farming.

So is organic produce worth that extra buck?

Whether or not organic produce has superior benefits over the conventional produce is still a contentious area across many scientific forums. However, evidence suggests that there are various health benefits that come with organic produce as listed above, which is not always the case with some conventionally produced foods.

Also note that the careful techniques and practices taken up on organic farming tend to be costlier than the conventional ones, directly affecting the entire supply chain.

Ultimately, whether to continuously eat organic food or not might depend on personal preference and priorities. Yet, with the organic benefits mentioned above, why not rely on organic produce?

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