Health benefits of organic food and its demand

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organic food

Organic foods

Food is an essential part of everyone’s lives. It gives us the energy and nutrients to grow and develop. Foods, such as fruits and vegetables contain not only the vitamins and minerals that are often found in supplements, but also other naturally occurring substances that may help protect from diseases.

Coming to organic foods, the term “organic” refers to the process of how certain foods are produced. Organic food produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming. One of the biggest studies into organic food found that it is more nutritious than ordinary produce and may help to lengthen people’s lives.

Organic farming avoids the use of man-made fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation. In the U.S., organic crops must grow without the use of synthetic pesticides, bio-engineered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers.

Organic farming

Source: Flickr

Organic agriculture, a way of farming that pays close attention to nature. It means fewer chemicals on the land, such as artificial fertilizers, which can pollute waterways. Organic farming can also offer benefits for animal welfare, as animals are required to be kept in more natural, free conditions. The farming tends to improve soil quality and the conservation of groundwater.

Organic produce Conventionally-grown produce
Grown with natural fertilizers (manure, compost). Grown with synthetic or chemical fertilizers.
Weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and tilling).

Pests are controlled using natural methods (birds, insects, traps) and naturally-derived pesticides.

Weeds are controlled with chemical herbicides.

 

Pests are controlled with synthetic pesticides

Organic meat, dairy, eggs Conventionally-raised meat, dairy, eggs
Livestock are given all organic, hormone- and GMO-free feed. Livestock are given growth hormones for faster growth, as well as non-organic, GMO feed.
Disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet. Antibiotics and medications are used to prevent livestock disease.
Livestock must have access to the outdoors. Livestock may or may not have access to the outdoors.

To be labeled organic, a food product must be free of artificial food additives. This includes artificial sweeteners, preservatives, coloring, flavoring and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

The most commonly purchased organic foods are fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Nowadays there are also many processed organic products available, such as sodas, cookies and breakfast cereals.

TastyFloats system, researchers created a contactless food-delivery system

Currently, the United States, European countries, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by regional organizations, national governments and international organizations, such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or European Commission (EC).

benefits of organic food for the body

Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.

When choosing organic products, most consumers start with organic food items such as fresh produce and milk. However, there is a wide diversity of other organic products available, including organic apparel and beds/bedding, cleaning and household products, nutritional supplements, organic flowers, and even organic pet food.

Source: Flickr

Organic milk contained higher concentrations of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids compared to milk from cows raised on conventionally managed dairy farms. The milk tested in the study also had less saturated fat than non-organic. Organic soybeans have a healthier nutritional profile from conventionally grown or genetically modified Roundup Ready soybeans.

Antioxidants

The organic tomatoes produce in an environment that has a lower nutrient supply. Organic tomatoes have an excessive formation of antioxidants, such as quercetin (79% higher) and kaempferol (97% higher). Antioxidants are good for health and help in reducing heart disease and the chances of developing cancer.

In a recent six-year study, the researchers found that organic onions had about 20% higher antioxidant content than conventionally grown onions. They also theorized that previous analyses found no difference in conventional versus organic antioxidant levels may prevented by too-short study periods and confounding variables like weather.

Increased amount of time grazing on grass also increases the amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) found in the animal products. CLA, a heart-healthy fatty acid that can boost cardiovascular protection and it is found in higher quantities in breast milk and in meat for animals that have been raised free range or cage-free.

organic food sales growth

Organic food sales are increasing by the double digits annually. More than 80 percent of parents reported buying organic food for their families last year. While there’s great momentum for organic sales, the reason people give for not purchasing it is because it’s too expensive.

Source: Organic Trade Association

Sales of Organic products in the U.S. totaled around $47 billion in 2016. Organic food now accounts for more than five percent of total food sales in the U.S. Organic food sales increased by 8.4 percent from last year, blowing past the stagnant 0.6 percent growth rate in the overall food market. Sales of organic non-food products were up 8.8% in 2016.

All organic non-food products produced without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, also synthetic fertilizers. Organic products are more expensive than conventional ones. Harvard research reveals that pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people suffering from allergies may benefit the most from choosing organically produced foods. However, there are many ways families can enjoy all organic meals every day affordably.

More information: [Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry]