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Have you ever stood in the produce section wondering what all the hype is about organic produce? Well, you are not alone. Although organic fruits and vegetables have been around for a while, many people are still unaware of the benefits of buying organic food. In fact, most people do not buy organic products, although it is starting to catch on.
In this article, you will read about five benefits that researchers have identified when buying organic food instead of conventional products.
WHAT DOES ORGANIC MEAN?
Before you dive into the benefits, you should probably know what organic means. Most people have a vague idea and know that it is synonymous with healthy, but they may not know the exact details of what makes food organic.
The term "organic" refers to how farms grow their produce. In general, it means that they did not grow the vegetable or fruit with any prohibited substances. However, there are a few different organic labels that you should be aware of.
Food can be labeled "organic," "USDA certified organic," or "made with organic ingredients." Foods labeled "organic" have been certified by a USDA accredited agency, but may not have as many standards as the USDA. These agencies require that the food has been grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
The USDA goes a step further by also requiring that foods have no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. When a food meets all of these standards, it earns the label "USDA Certified Organic." This designation is the best option of all titles.
The last label you won't have to worry about for produce because it's more for foods that have more than one ingredient. However, this label only requires that the food be at least 70% organic.
FIVE BENEFITS OF CHOOSING ORGANIC PRODUCTS
Organic food has been extensively researched for decades. There are many finds, but one thing that is common to all is that organic is right for you. That fact remains indisputable.
So what can organic food do for people? There are a host of benefits that can be gained from eating organic food instead of regular foods. Here are five benefits, as explained by the researchers.
1. LOWER RISK OF ALLERGIC DISEASES
There have been many studies showing a link between increased food allergies and high levels of pesticides. The cause is believed to be the interaction of pesticides with food at the cellular level. Research on this topic is ongoing, but so far, most research reaches the same conclusion.
Some products that kill germs and weeds contain chemicals called dichlorophenols (DCP). The breakdown of pesticides creates these chemicals.
Interestingly, DCPs are also found in chlorinated drinking water in small amounts. While DCPs clean food and drinking water, the levels that people eat begin to build up.
It appears that making food "too clean" leads to a reduced ability to tolerate certain foods. Allergy levels have been on the rise for decades, and researchers continually find links to this rise in allergies and DCP.
DCPs alter many hormones in the body. Because of this, researchers are exploring the possibilities that DCPs can cause other problems like cancer and heart disease.
Buying organic products significantly reduces your exposure to DCPs. While you can still get DCP from drinking water, without the added bonus of pesticide-fumigated products, your exposure levels are manageable. Buy organic products to reduce the risk of allergies.
2. DECREASE OF OBESITY
The organic or non-organic status of produce may not appear to influence their weight, but it does. The effect is indirect, but research supports the correlation between waist reduction and organic foods. Here is an explanation why that happens.
One thing to consider is size. Organic fruits and vegetables tend to be smaller than those that are regularly fertilized. While there is no definitive scientific explanation for this yet, this is believed to happen due to the cost of organic supplies. Since organic fertilizers cost more than normal fertilizers, farmers use less, resulting in smaller fruits and vegetables.
Although the vegetable or fruit may be smaller, they still have the same amount of nutrients. However, they have fewer calories. This sounds great, and it is. However, that means that the normal product, the largest crop, has more calories but the same amount of nutrients. In other words, the smaller portions are the result of naturally organic produce.
Besides the increase in calories, another concern is compounds like resveratrol and other polyphenols. These compounds help you feel full and help regulate blood glucose levels. In larger, less nutrient-dense products, you get less of these compounds per bite, so you need to eat more to feel full. With organic products, it is the opposite effect.
3. IMPROVEMENT OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN
Numerous research has shown a link between poor cognitive development in children and non-organic foods. As stated above, chemicals like DCPs interact with hormones and wreak all kinds of havoc on the body. Some of these havoc can affect brain development.
According to a report published by Harvard Health, a study conducted by the European Parliament suggests that problems begin in the womb. As pregnant mothers eat non-organic products, the chemicals interact with the growing fetus as the brain develops. This type of damage can be irreversible after the fetus reaches term.
For example, children who are exposed to these harmful chemicals in the womb have been shown to have thinner gray matter. Essential gray matter helps process information in the brain. With more delicate gray matter, the brain cannot process as much information as it should.
Other brain-related problems from the chemicals used in non-organic products include decreased neurobehavioral development, lower IQs, and the development of ADHD. An easy way to avoid the possibility of all these complications is to buy organic products, especially if you are pregnant.
4. NON-GMO PRODUCTS
By now, most people know that GMO stands forGenetically modified organisms. This means that the DNA of food has been modified by selecting specific genes in food for scientific engineering. These genes are generally altered for reasons like making food bigger, making food last longer, growing seedless fruit, growing more crops at once, and more.
Selective breeding is something that has been going on for centuries. Today's GM foods are reallygenetically modified. However, the food industry uses the term GMO interchangeably. While the science behind GM foods is legal and well-researched, the concept is relatively new. Therefore, many people share concerns about the long-term safety of these foods.
One big problem is that scientists and food safety agencies like the FDA or USDA cannot definitively say that GMO foods are safe. Instead, his recommendation is to consider food on a case-by-case basis.
It's not difficult to read between the lines about this. They still don't know how safe it is.
Earlier in the article, we said that organic food with a “USDA Certified Organic” label is a guarantee that the food is not GMO. Therefore, if you want to avoid GMO products, you must buy organic products.
5. A HEALTHIER ENVIRONMENT
Let's be honest. The world is rife with pollution and other man-made problems. You are reaching a point where these issues can no longer be ignored.
Unfortunately, pesticides and herbicides are part of these problems.
One of the most attractive benefits of buying organic products is that it dramatically helps the environment. Organic farming uses less energy and conserves water. It reduces soil pollution and erosion and even increases soil fertility because there are no harmful chemicals that kill nutrients in the soil.
Even the local wildlife will benefit from eating organic food. Birds and small animals do not ingest insects, seeds, or more that have been sprayed with harmful chemicals. These chemicals can kill these small animals.
Another consideration is that pesticides discourage pests. Of course, that is the main purpose of pesticides. However, the problem is that the pests only move to other places. This migration causes an imbalance in the habitat of wildlife. Think about this: if the pests are not near the farms, they may be near the cities, or in other words, your home!
In general, organic farming is healthy for all living things.
You can contribute to the environment by supporting organic farms. The more popular organic products become, the more farms will become organic. It is one of the easiest ways to help save the planet.
FINAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CHOICE OF ORGANIC PRODUCTS
One of the biggest challenges in getting the organic trend up to speed is cost. Organic foods tend to cost more than regular foods. With the unstable economy, people are reluctant to spend more if they don't have to.
However, if you can make a little more space in your grocery budget, it pays to buy organic. It will be healthier, as will the environment. What have you got to lose? Give it a try!