Nowadays, there is a growing health concern among consumers because of the prevalent use of pesticides, antibiotics and other chemicals in growing food products such as vegetable, fruits and meat. Traces of these chemicals can remain in the food even after washing. Higher levels of these chemicals in our body could have negative effects on our health. Because of this, organic foods became increasingly popular. Many proponents of organic foods claim of several health benefits of eating organic. Although these claims are not yet backed up by studies and researches, they are worth considering because of the fact that organic foods are grown and prepared the natural way without the use of harmful chemicals.
Health Benefits of Organic Foods
1. Higher Level of Nutrients
According to authors Bryant Terry and Anna Lappe of “Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen,” nutrients in organic foods can be 50 percent more than those foods heavily treated with chemicals.
2. No Traces of Pesticides and Chemicals
Certified organic foods are required to be grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides unlike non-organic foods that are heavily treated. Traces of toxic chemicals usually remain even after a few washings. Many studies show that foods treated with these toxic substances can be linked to increased rates of obesity, cancer, birth defects, and other health conditions.
3. No Traces of Antibiotic and Growth Hormones
Most of the meat products that we can buy now in the market are injected with antibiotics and growth hormones for the animals to grow fast and to be free from diseases. Traces of these chemicals can remain in the meat and be ingested in our system. And too much of them in our system can cause serious health conditions. Organically raised meats, on the other hand, are required to be free from antibiotics and growth hormones.
4. No artificial coloring
Nowadays, some fresh produce also contains artificial coloring to make the vegetable or fruits look fresh and ripe. You can never be sure which of these foods in the supermarket are sprayed with artificial coloring until you buy them and bring them home. But with organically grown produce, you are guaranteed that they are not sprayed with artificial coloring.
5. High Level of Antioxidants
Antioxidants in foods promote better health and they also help fight certain diseases. The level of antioxidants in fresh produce is usually higher when they are newly harvested or picked. And since organic foods are usually sourced locally and brought to the supermarket faster while they are still fresh, more antioxidants are retained in the food.
6. Better Taste
Although taste is subjective, more and more people admit that organic foods have better and stronger flavor. One of the reasons for this is because these foods have been grown and allowed to mature naturally.
Identifying Organic Food
To identify whether what you are buying is organic or not, check the label. The US Department of Agriculture has established a program of organic certification requiring strict government standards that regulate the growing, handling and processing of food before they can be considered organic.
Food bearing the Organic Label means that the producer strictly follows the USDA standard.
100% Organic – it means that the product is completely organic or made from all-organic ingredients.
Organic – this term means that the product is at least 95% organic.
Only foods that are products of strict adherence to USDA standards can bear the label organic.