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Is Organic Food Better?


What are the Pros and Cons of Organic Foods?

Is organic food better for you than commercially grown foods? To better understand the pros and cons of organic foods, you need to first define organic foods. Then, find out where organic food companies, suppliers and markets are located and how to buy from them. Or better yet, grow your own organic produce.

Organic food benefits are significant: for you, your family and the environment. Gaining an understand of how to define organic food (certified or not), and how it's labelled, is important when buying food for your family. Discover why genetically modified foods are not healthy for the environment (follow the links at the bottom of this page to read more about the impacts of GM foods).

We find it interesting, and alarming, that there is still much discussion about the value of organics. When you make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle and to miminizing the impact we have on the environment, it's important to review the pros and cons of organic foods (the pros (in our opinion) are significant and the cons are typically related to cost).

We believe the answer is yes; organic foods are better for you, your family and the environment.

First, let's define organic food.

It is food produced (grown, stored, processed, packaged and shipped) with the avoidance of most synthetic chemical inputs (such as pesticides, antibiotics, fertilizers, food additives, and more); with no genetically modified foods organisms; no irradiation; and no use of sewage, rejected food, or other unpalatable products not fit for consumption. Organic gardening and farming methods produce healthy foods.

Additionally, organic food must use farm land that has been free from chemicals for a number of years (often, three or more) and that has been tested to prove 'clean' soil.

Organic certification procedures require that the food producer and/or distributor keeps detailed written records (of where, when, and how the food was produced) and keeps the organic food segregated from non-organic food if working with both foods.




Is Organic Food Better? The Pros and Cons of Organic Foods

We are convinced that organic food is better, healthier and tastier than non organic food. Of those three attributes, the most important - from an environmental perspective - is the healthier attribute.

And what is healthier for our environment is also healthier for humans, animals, vegetation, and the planet.

The benefits of organic food are numerous. To provide some balance: there are some cons of organic foods. For the most part, organic foods will cost more to produce (at least initially as producers go through the organic process).

And, without the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, organic fruit and vegetables may look more blemished but have much more flavor and taste. You need that flavor and taste when you cook, freeze, can or 'put food by', and eat your home grown food.

By preserving your organic food, you and your family can eat healthy foods all year long.

is organic food better




Is Organic Food Better? Define Organic Foods.

In terms of arable farming or production, it begins with the soil in which the seeds or seedlings are sown. This soil has a rich and balanced ecosystem. In other words it is teeming with the living organisms that provide the minerals and nutrients necessary to sustain and produce new, healthy life, e.g. crops.

This soil is in such good condition because the farmer has rotated his crops each season, rather than growing the same crop on the same section of land year after year. The variation in plant-life results in biodiversity - a wide range of organisms. This leads to the rich and balanced ecosystem mentioned above.

Further, using this system of organic farming means the soil is sustainable. It will go on producing life, unlike intensively farmed soil that eventually dies. Read more on environmental health issues.

The soil (as well as the crops) has also been spared contamination by toxic products, synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

These chemicals damage the health of living organisms; plants, animals and humans included. This is why governments have put limits on the residues permitted in conventionally produced foods. Read more on the benefits of eating organic foods.

Finally, in terms of what makes food organic, no genetically modified materials are used. Genetically modified foods materials are another controversial issue.

No research has been carried out to guarantee it is safe, the test for safety, 'substantial equivalence' is ridiculously inconclusive, and it has been shown that genetic manipulation can disrupt metabolic systems. Read more on genetically modified foods.

Organic certifiers like the Soil Association and Organic Growers and Farmers in the UK, and USDA designated certifiers in the US, ensure that what makes food organic has actually taken place.

Is organic food better? On the strength of the environmentally friendly method of organic production alone: yes!

But how is organic food better for the individual you may ask? Let's look at that now.




Is Organic Food Better: Organic Foods Research

Often the argument against organic food is that the benefit is not worth the additional cost. However, in this world of over-processed, chemically tainted, genetically modified foods (and worse), the nutritional value in non-organic foods is getting weaker and weaker. The result is that you can eat less organic food to get the equivalent nutritional value of non organic food.

Here are a few samples of organic food research that has been carried out asking the same question as we are - is organic food better? The answer is clear:

In 2001, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, internationally acknowledged as the leading publisher in biotechnology, published a study by Virginia Worthington, MS, ScD, CNS - Nutrikinetics, Washington, DC.

This study found that

  • ...Organic crops contained significantly more vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus and significantly less nitrates than conventional crops. There were non-significant trends showing less protein but of a better quality and a higher content of nutritionally significant minerals with lower amounts of some heavy metals in organic crops compared to conventional ones.

Is organic food better? Yes, according to this research.

In November 2011, the Soil Association published a new report:

  • On farm antibiotics and the connection to the rise in superbugs. The report finds that this rise has developed from the use (and some argue over-use) of antibiotics in factory-farmed animals. The Soil Association report recognizes that ill animals may require antibiotic treatment but argues that if animals were raised in healthier environments and conditions then illness would decrease.

In 2007, a 4-year, $18 million (USD) project financed by the EU, revealed that

  • ... organic tomatoes, peaches and processed apples all have higher nutritional quality than non-organic - scientists conclude "organic cherry and standard tomatoes can be recommended as part of a healthy diet including plant products which have shown to be of value in cancer prevention,"

  • and organic peaches "have a higher polyphenol content at harvest,"

  • and, finally concludes that organic production has "positive effects ... on nutritional quality and taste".

In 2006, the University of Liverpool found that

  • ... Organic milk had higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids throughout the year, compared to non-organic milk. In particular, average levels of omega-3 fatty acids were 68% higher in organic milk ... Organic milk also contains a much lower omega-6:omega-3 fatty acid ratio, which is considered beneficial, than non-organic milk:

    "The n-6:n-3 FA ratio each month in organic milk ranged from 1.27 to 1.90, and in conventional milk, ranged from 1.99 to 3.66." According to Simopoulos (2002), "a lower ratio of omega3/omega6 is more desirable in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases of high prevalence in Western societies".

In 2004 - 2005, the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences conducted a report that found that

  • ... Organic milk in 7 out of 10 samples contained significantly higher levels of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) than non-organic milk (Figure 3). There was less synthetic vitamin E in organic milk which indicates less was added to the organic milk.

    Despite this, the vitamin E content of organic milk was higher than non-organic milk. - The beta-carotene content was two to three times higher in organic milk than in non-organic milk.

Is organic food better? The answer is, yes. The above is just a small sample of the research that has found that organic food is better than most (if not all) commercially produced foods.

You can grow your own organic food, or buy products from organic food companies, from online organic food stores, from local farmers markets, and more. Organic food is more easily accessible than ever before.




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