Definition of Organic Food

You have decided to take the first step in developing a healthy lifestyle, but remember that a healthy eating plan is more than just cutting out the junk food.  You need to get the most nutritional value out of every bit you take. 

To build a fit body, you need to eat the right kind of food.  Sure, fruits and vegetables are an easy choice, but choosing foods that would also benefit the environment is a lot better.

Think about it.  Many of the crops we see on groceries have pesticides and other chemicals to maintain its quality, and if we do not prepare them well these hazardous substances will enter our bodies.  At the same time, these chemicals also contribute harm to our soil and air. 

With the world becoming more and more aware about the environment, shouldn’t you take part in keeping our planet healthy as well?  This is why you should consider purchasing organic foods.

What makes foods organic?

In order for food to be classified as organic, it should be raised, grown, and processed without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, antibiotics, or hormones. 

These foods should also be grown by farmers who follow the USDA organic standards and certified by an independent third-party accredited agent in order to become "certified organic."  There are many small farms, however, which also grow crops organically and have the same quality as its certified counterparts.

Organic foods are in contrast with foods grown using "conventional farming methods" or non-organic farming practices.

Benefits of organic food

In plain sight, organic foods may appear smaller compared to other crops that have been conventionally grown.  However, organic foods have lots of advantages.  In a study published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition in 1993, organically grown food is more nutritious than those produced using synthetic chemicals. 

In addition, a 2001 study has stated that conventionally grown crops nowadays have about half the vitamin content compared to the same foods grown in 1963.

Organically grown food has about 63 percent more calcium, 73 percent more iron, and 118 percent more magnesium content compared to conventionally grown foods.  Meanwhile, organic foods have about 29 percent lower mercury levels compared to its chemically treated counterparts.

Organic foods may also do more to your body when it comes to fighting off diseases, as they have higher levels of flavonoids.  These substances, which are produced by plants in response to environmental stresses like competing plants or insects, have high levels of antioxidants.  Not only do these antioxidants serve as the plant’s natural defense, they also help us fight disease as well.

Moreover, scientists now have a better understanding of how diseases and exposure to fertilizers and pesticides are linked together.  Some pesticides have been shown to disrupt our endocrine system, which in turn deregulates our hormones.  Foods with pesticides have also been linked to breast cancer, uterine cancer, and asthma.

Beyond the nutrition value we get from organic foods, farmers raising organic crops also contribute in keeping the earth healthy.  Over time, conventional farmers have developed stronger pesticides as insects, weeds, and plant diseases have developed resistance to previously released pesticides.  And despite the tremendous increase in the use of pesticides, the percentage of crops lost to pests has remained about the same since 1950.

Soils from conventional farms are seriously depleted due to erosion (because the same crop is planted over and over), nutrient depletion (because of chemical fertilizers), and salinization (the build-up of salt in the soil because of excessive irrigation).