- by Forgreen Foods
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- Nov 10 2017
Organic Foods: what you need to know
Organic food has become very popular nowadays. The term ‘organic’ refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed while the regulations vary from country to country, in the U.S., organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers.
Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products.
FDA and the USDA have clearly mentioned that non-organic food is as healthy as organic food. Some scientific studied have proved organic milk and organic tomatoes to be better than non-organic varieties. Organic milk has more antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and vitamins than non-organic milk. It is healthier since organic cows are pasture grazed which results in the better quality of milk.
Organic tomatoes are produced in an environment that has a lower nutrient supply since nitrogen-rich fertilizers are not added. This leads to an excessive formation of antioxidants, such as quercetin and kaempferol in organic tomatoes. Antioxidants are good for health and help in reducing heart disease and the chances of developing cancer.
The USDA has guidelines on how organic foods are described on product labels:
100 percent organic: This description is used of certified organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat or other single-ingredient foods. It may also be used on multi-ingredient foods if all of the ingredients are certified organic, excluding salt and water. These may have a USDA seal.
Organic: If a multi-ingredient food is labelled organic, at least 95 percent of the ingredients are certified organic, excluding salt and water. The nonorganic items must be from a USDA list of approved additional ingredients. These also may have a USDA seal.
Made with Organic: If a multi-ingredient product has at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients, it may have a "made with organic" ingredients label. For example, a breakfast cereal might be labelled "made with organic oats." The ingredient list must identify what ingredients are organic. These products may not carry a USDA seal.
Organic Ingredients: If less than 70 percent of a multi-ingredient product is certified organic, it may not be labelled as organic or carry a USDA seal. The ingredient list can indicate which ingredients are organic.
Benefits of Organic Food
- Organic food has much higher amount of antioxidants in it. Choosing organic food can lead to increase intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals.
- Organic food is free from pesticides. Pesticides are powerful chemicals like organophosphorus. Organophosphorus has been connected to a number of developmental problems, including autism and ADHD.
- An increased amount of time grazing on grass also increases the amount of CLA that can be found in the animal products. CLA is a heart-healthy fatty acid that can boost cardiovascular protection and is found in higher quantities in breast milk and in the meat of animals.
- Cadmium is a toxic chemically naturally found in soils and absorbed by plants. Studies have shown significantly lower levels in organic grains, but not fruits and vegetables, when compared with conventionally grown crops.
- Organic food is fresher because it does not contain preservatives that make it last longer.
- Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy.
- Feeding livestock animal by-products increase the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
- Organic food is GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) free.
- According to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that analyzes the results of government pesticide testing in the U.S., the following fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide levels so are best to buy organic: apples, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, potatoes, grapes, cherry tomatoes, collard greens, summer squash, nectarines, peaches, spinach, strawberries and hot peppers.
- There are some fruits and vegetables which you do not need to buy organic, they are usually low in pesticides. The following foods are asparagus, onion, avocado, papaya, mushrooms, cabbage, pineapple, sweet peas (frozen), sweet corn, sweet potatoes, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, cantaloupe, and mango.
‘Buy organic meat, eggs, and dairy if you can afford to.’
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