Go green, go organic: 10 reasons to choose organic food over conventional ones
09/08/2020 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Go green, go organic: 10 reasons to choose organic food over conventional ones

Making the right choices at the fresh produce section of the supermarket can often be a daunting task. Do those “organic” labels make a difference? Does “organic” mean something is healthier than its non-organic counterpart? Or is it just a marketing tactic to trick people into spending more for the same product?

Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of their health, and this includes their food choices. But it seems that manufacturers are catching on to this trend of being health-conscious. Just look at all of those “fat-free,” “sugar-free” and “organic” labels at the supermarket!

But unlike other fad labels, the “organic” label isn’t something you should underestimate. There are benefits found in organic foods that are absent in their non-organic counterparts. Plus, choosing organic doesn’t just mean healthier foods. It also means supporting our environment.

Reasons to go organic

Proponents of organic foods and organic farming maintain that there are better returns to choosing organic foods. Here are 10 compelling reasons to go organic:

Organic foods reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals

Fresh produce labeled organic are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. While there are regulations set in place to monitor the use of these substances in commercial farming, health experts still warn about the potential ill effects of repeated exposure to the chemicals in these substances.

There have also been more than enough studies on pesticides to demonstrate that their chemical ingredients pose serious health risks, not just to humans, but also to animals that might ingest pesticide-laced seeds and crops. Instead of using chemical products, organic farmers practice crop rotation to control pests.

Organic foods are more abundant in nutrients

Organic foods are healthier than non-organic ones. But this isn’t just some argument that organic food proponents pulled out of thin air. In 2017, researchers found that organic onions had a 20 percent higher antioxidant content than non-organic onions.

On the other hand, a report that looked at 41 published studies comparing the nutritional profile of organic and non-organic produce indicated that the organic crops had larger amounts of various nutrients compared to their non-organic counterparts.

Experts speculate that this might be traced back to the fertile soil used and maintained in organic farming. The use of organic fertilizers, such as compost and manure from cattle, might also have a hand in the production of more nutritious crops.

Organic foods taste better

Some studies show that organic foods taste better than their non-organic counterparts.

In 2014, English researchers examined 343 published studies and found that organic foods contain between 18 to 69 percent more antioxidants.

Without chemical pesticides to guard against harm, crops will produce more antioxidants to ward off pests and weather out damage. Experts think these antioxidants might be making the plants taste better, too.

Moreover, plants get stressed. Drought, poor soil health and repeated use of pesticides can all trigger unique hormonal responses from plants.

In turn, these responses become part of the plant’s signature taste, so to speak. In a nutshell, the more stressed a plant is, the less delicious its produce will be.

Organic foods are GMO-free

Genetically modified (GM) crops and meat are foods that have been altered using artificial means to enhance their taste, increase their size or make them look a certain shape.

Most GM crops are also designed to be resistant to pests or the harmful effects of pesticides. Organic foods are required to be GMO-free, as per recent guidelines of the Department of Agriculture.

This means that organic farmers are prohibited from using GM seeds, nor can animals be fed GM crops like alfalfa and corn. Producers of organic food products are also prohibited from using GM ingredients.

Organic meat and animal products are sourced from healthier animals

Traces of pesticides can also be found in meat and animal products like milk and cheese. Meat and milk products from commercial farms are among the most at risk of contamination from toxic chemicals.

Experts think that pesticide-laced meat and animal products could end up on our dinner tables due to certain chain reactions. For instance, farmers might be feeding cattle, chickens and pigs pesticide-laced grains.

Toxins from pesticides and chemical substances could then end up inside our guts after purchasing, preparing and eating meat and animal products from those contaminated animals.

In contrast, organic farms are required to ensure clean and humane conditions in raising animals meant for human consumption.

Organic foods are produced through practices that do not harm the environment

As if healthier, pesticide-free foods are not reason enough to go organic, organic farming is also better for the environment. For starters, organic farming doesn’t leave traces of agricultural chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers that could end up contaminating our environment.

Certified organic standards also mandate the responsible management of fertile farmlands and the biodiversity of the surrounding environment. Simply put, organic farmers are obligated to think beyond profit, unlike commercial farmers.

Plus, organic farming can also be better for the health of people living close to farms as it reduces their exposure to harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers, among other toxic substances. Recent studies indicate that the same cannot be said for those living near large, commercial farms.

Organic food production reduces nitrogen pollution

Plants utilize nitrogen to grow. However, farmlands could end up with excessive amounts of nitrogen due to the frequent application of nitrogen fertilizers, a common enough practice in commercial farming.

In the long run, too much nitrogen contributes to both soil and air pollution. In the soil, a surplus of nitrogen depletes other important minerals. Nitrogen also contributes to acid rain and ocean pollution.

On the bright side, recent studies show that organic farming releases 64 percent less nitrogen into both the air and soil compared to commercial farming. Therefore, choosing organic foods means supporting these safer farming practices.

Organic farmers don’t practice monocropping

Monocropping, a practice that involves planting the same crops in the same soil each planting season, is commonly used in commercial farming. This practice is thought to be far more profitable than rotating among different crops each planting season.

That might not sound all that bad, but the problem is that planting just one crop over and over depletes nutrients in the soil, thus leading to dull or stunted plants. Farmers are then forced to use chemical fertilizers that further harm the soil and contribute to nutrient depletion.

In contrast, organic farmers focus on maintaining rich soil through natural means to provide the nutrients that crops need to thrive. So in choosing organic produce, you can be sure that the plants they came from hadn’t been sitting on a bed of chemicals!

Organic food purchases support local farmers and not giant corporations

To maintain the expensive, large-scale, commercial farms, the government needs to dole out subsidies to these farms in the form of millions of tax dollars. Should these farms end up causing environmental pollution, that’s another couple million tax dollars for clean-up and restoration.

In contrast, purchasing organic foods means supporting organic farms run by local farmers, not gigantic corporations. These farms are also often fewer and smaller in size. Both of these factors can make it difficult for local farmers to keep their prices competitive, hence the higher cost of organic foods.

Organic farming ensures clean and nutritious foods for future generations

Choosing organic foods in the present is neither just a matter of better health nor a cleaner environment. Supporting the organic sector through our purchases also ensures that future generations will continue to have healthier foods despite an overwhelming prevalence of non-organic, pesticide-treated and processed foods in the market.

Eating organic is a smarter choice for our health and for the environment. In choosing produce, check labels and be sure to grab nothing more than those labeled “certified organic.”











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