Learn Why Organic Food Really is Healthier
Yes I truly believe organic food is healthier for you and in this article I will address the reasons why.
You will always find a lot debates around as to whether organic food is really healthier and more nutritious for us than conventionally grown food? The arguments tend to focus on the vitamin and nutritional value, but is this the first thing we should be looking at when it comes to choosing organic or conventional? I think not…
Toxic Pesticides and Fungicides In Our Food
There is a far more worrying issue that needs to be addressed and which play major roles in whether a food is healthy for you or not, and that is the chemical pesticide and fertilizer load, along with whether the produce is also genetically modified, treated with growth hormones and administered antibiotics etc. These chemicals which are used in the production of conventional produce are toxic not only to fungus’s and pests, but to the entire ecosystem, including of course us.
Why Certified Organic Food Must Be Healthier For Us
Certified Organic food does generally cost a little more, but it is worth every penny when you think of what you and your family won’t be ingesting!
Certified Organic food is free from chemical pesticide, fungicides and fertilizers, genetic modifications, growth hormones and unless the animal is truly sick and in need of antibiotics, then also antibiotic free.
Are there more vitamins in organic food? I believe yes, but this is not the main benefit of eating organic. Eating certified organic food is healthier for you because of all the toxic chemicals it doesn’t contain.
*Note- if there is no recognized organic certification logo or certificate on produce and packaged foods that are advertised as organic, then there is no way you can actually trust that the food is truly organic. This is why it is so very important to buy foods that are certified organic.
The Difference Between Certified Organic and Saying Your Organic
The general public are very mistrusting of the labeling of food as organic. I have been asked questions such as, “how can bread be organic, it is not a fruit or vegetable?”
Not enough people understand that the wheat and other ingredients in a certified organic loaf of bread have all been grown organically, so therefore the end product is able to be labeled certified organic. On the other hand, conventional bread is made from wheat crops that are sprayed with pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers and therefore the bread will contain traces of these toxic chemicals.
Remember it is no simple feat for a farmer or food manufacturer to get his produce/products certified organic. It is a very extensive and expensive process!
Once a grower or food manufacturer has received their organic certification from legal bodies such as the ACO, they are checked and audited regularly to ensure that they maintain the organic certifications standards.
Certain Vegetables & Fruit Are Sprayed With More Pesticides & Fungicides Than Others
Fresh produce is the most important to buy organic if you have a choice, especially certain types of fruit and vegetables. According toEWG 2013 Dirty Dozen List of Pesticide Loaded Fruit and Vegetables, these are the top 12 fruit and vegetables in the USA with the highest toxic chemical load are conventional; apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, red capsicum, kale/ salad greens and zucchini/summer squash.
These fruit and vegetables are ones, that in the USA, you would be much safer off buying certified organic. Please note each country has different pests that attack different crops, so you would have to contact an Agricultural Legal Body in your own country to find out which crops are the most heavily sprayed.
Below is some truly enlightening information from Bio-dynamic Agriculture Australia-
1. The Residue Myth
A major myth is that most modern agricultural chemicals leave few residues. We are mislead into believing that they breakdown and do not persist in our food.
A typical claim states:”Organophosphorous pesticides, carbamate pesticides are mostly biodegradable, and therefore do not concentrate in the food chain. Synthetic pyrethroids, are generally biodegradable and therefore tend not to persist in the environment.”
These types of statements give a false impression. Most agricultural and veterinary chemicals leave residues in food. That is why residue tolerances called the Average Daily Intake (ADI) are set for these poisons.
Some Of The Poisons Found In Australian Foods – 2003:
Acephate, Azinphos-methyl, Bifenthrin, Bioresmethrin, Captan, Carbaryl, Chlorfenvinphos, Chlorothalonil, Chlorpyrifos, Chlorpyrifos-methyl, DDT, DDE, Dimethoate, Diphenylamine, Endosulfan, Fenitrothion, Fenoxycarb, Fenthion, Iprodione, Maldison, Metalaxyl, Methamidophos, Methidathion, Methoprene, o-phenylphenol, Parathion-methyl, Permethrin, Piperonyl butoxide, Pirimicarb, Pirimiphos-methyl, Procymidone, Propargite, Propiconazole, Pyrimethanil, Tebufenpyrad, Tetradifon, Vinclozolin 2
Testing in Australia only looks at a small sample of the large number of chemicals used. The majority of agricultural chemicals are not included in residue testing. Some of the most widely used chemicals, including herbicides such as Atrazine, Glyphosate, 2,4-D, Diuron and Paraquat were not included in the testing. http://www.biodynamics.net.au/articles/myths_of_safe_pesticides.htm
Children At Greater Risk From Pesticide Residues
Parents should beware. Our children are receiving the highest exposure of pesticides and fungicides, due to their body size ratio.
According to the 20th Australian Total Diet Survey. “In general, the dietary exposure to pesticide residues was highest for the toddler age group. This is due to the high food consumption relative to body weight.”
The chemicals used in the growing of conventional produce have been linked to some very serious health concerns, ranging from various types of cancers and deformities, hormonal and reproductive problems.
Even in this article by The Better Health Channel they are careful of what they write, but they clearly still promote organic food as the safer and healthier option.
How To Lower Your Pesticide Exposure – Swapping Over To Eating Organic Tips
- Where possible, shop for certified organic fruit, vegetables. Many people argue that it limits your choice of produce, as you can only buy what is in season so therefore can’t eat what you may want. Yes this tends to be true, but that is the way nature intended it to be, certain fruit and vegetables grow at certain times of the year in certain countries and therefore if you live in this country this is what you should be eating.
Imported conventional fruit and vegetables are even more unhealthy than conventional fruit and vegetables grown in your own country, as they travel great distances and are fumigated in different ports and the nutritional value and freshness of fruit and vegetables drops considerably with time.
- Adjust your mindset and learn to be creative with the produce available at the time. Try buying up in abundance when local organic fruit and veg is available and wash and freeze it for use in months to come.
- If you really would like a certain fruit or vegetable that isn’t available in an organic option, be selective with your choices and pick fruit and veg with the lowest pesticide ratings. Here is the Environmental Working Groups (EWG) – Shoppers Guide to Pesticides, this study was done by scientists in the USA, please note this was done on products in the USA not in Australia, but it would make sense that certain fruit and vegetables require more pesticide use than others, so I believe this is at least a good guideline for conventional produce.
- This study also found that washing or peeling did not make much of a difference in the rating of pesticides in the produce. According to EWG in the USA the fruit and vegetables with the lowest pesticide levels are; asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, mangoes, mushrooms, onions, papaya’s, pineapple, frozen sweet peas and sweet potatoes. Mind you again, this may vary from country to country depending on what pests attack what crops in each individual country.
- Check out your local supermarket and fruit stores as you can now readily buy many staple, organic ,grocery items, e.g. most major supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths now have a great selection of organic produce, ranging from fruit and vegetable, cheeses, eggs, milk, coffee and tea, right through to sugar, pasta, grains, flours, sauces and spices.
- When buying baby foods it is now extremely easy to pick the organic jars and pouches as there are so many choices and varieties. I still wonder why parents would buy the non-organic option, is it because they want a certain variety that isn’t available in the organic selection? Or is it because they don’t think organic is any healthier? If it is about variety, we need to remember that babies will happily eat the same food every day, so picking a non-organic option to give your baby variety, is really not worth it when you consider the pesticide load they will also be ingesting.
- Grow your own organic vegetables and fruits. This is not only a money saver, but is a great way to teach children how food grows. There are many good websites and books that show you how to get started, and organic seeds and seedlings, as well as organic soils, fertilizers and mulches, are readily available at nurseries, hardware, variety and eco-stores as well as some great on-line organic nursery sites.
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