Wellness is an idea that’s turned into a booming industry, and rightfully so. People want to take better care of themselves, and that starts with knowing where the food they are eating comes from. Choosing organic food and produce at the grocery store benefits not only the consumer, but the world as well. Food is considered organic if it has been grown on soil without fertilizers or pesticides for over three years, prior to harvest. While organic foods may not be significantly more nutritious than non-organic foods, there are benefits from choosing the one over the other. Organic food is safer to consume, it’s better for the environment, and it doesn’t put farmers at risk to harvest.
Choosing organic can cost more money, but it’s worth it if you’re interested in reducing your chemical intake and environmental footprint. We’ll explain exactly why choosing organic foods can benefit your health in the long run, and why it’s worth the extra dollars.
What is Organic?
The short answer, as we defined earlier, is any food that is produced without pesticides or fertilizer. That means fruits, vegetables, and grains must be grown on soil free of chemicals, while livestock must be given organic feed and kept free of antibiotics and growth hormones. The specific standards for organic farming differ all over the world, but the basic outline of what’s required remains the same.
Don’t be fooled though — many companies out there have picked up on the ‘health and wellness’ trend and try to market foods to consumers that seem healthier, but are not. Words on labels like ‘all-natural’, ‘pesticide free’, and ‘free range’ should not be conflated with organic. If it doesn’t explicitly say organic on the label, then it has not met the requirements and is most likely still produced with harmful chemicals you want to avoid.
No Harmful Chemicals
Fruits, vegetables and grains are typically grown with chemicals that have been deemed ‘safe’, but the problem lies within repeated exposure to said chemicals. There are plenty of chemicals found in regularly grown food that have been linked to cancer.
The most commonly used type of pesticide in the world is herbicide. It’s a weed killer used by farmers, and was first introduced in 1974. There has been lots of conflicting information out there about whether or not it’s safe for human consumption, until recently. In 2015, the World Health Organization declared that herbicide is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’. This means that consuming foods grown with said pesticide can potentially cause cancer.
When you choose organic food over conventionally grown food, you’re choosing food that has been grown without harmful chemicals like herbicide. You won’t get cancer immediately after eating a few apples grown non-organically, but if you eat them for 10 years, your chances certainly go up.
No Antibiotics or Synthetic Hormones
Factory farm livestock conditions are not just inhumane, they are pretty filthy. The large, crowded factories animals are raised in make them much more prone to diseases. To prevent this, farmers will pump them full of antibiotics, and small traces can be left behind when you’re eating.
Antibiotics are prescribed by doctors to treat common human ailments everyday. The problem with eating meat with small traces is that over time, your body can grow resistant to certain bacterias, which makes fighting infections more difficult.
Many farmers also inject their young livestock with synthetic hormones to make them grow faster. Faster weight gains equals more product. Not only is this unethical, hormone treated meat has been linked with causing early puberty in children. Even low levels of hormones can have strong effects on the body’s processes, which is why many countries around the world have banned the practice entirely.
Choosing organic meat over conventionally sourced meat can have serious impacts on your overall health. You will avoid being overly exposed to antibiotics, as well as harmful hormones that can affect how your body functions.
The Best Choice Is Organic
Your health is important, and the evidence is pretty conclusive that non-organic foods are harmful. Repeated exposure to chemicals like herbicide have been linked to causing cancer, antibiotics in meat can reduce your ability to fight infections, and growth hormones can cause serious developmental issues.
If those weren’t enough reasons to choose organic, farming non-organic food is a huge contributor to global warming. Large factory farms emit harmful C02 gases at alarming rates, and pesticides pollute our air, water, and soil.
Organic farming takes up more land to produce the same amount of food, which is definitely an issue, but is significantly better for the environment overall. Additionally, farming non-organic food is harmful to the people who work there. The direct exposure to chemicals has a huge, negative effect on the population of workers in the industry.
The health benefits from choosing organic over conventionally grown food will have long lasting impacts on your life, and the world.