The consumption of organic foods is steadily on the rise. The recent acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon is another event that reiterates this fact. There are expectations that the natural-foods giant will experience better growth in the future.
For many consumers, the purchase and consumption of organic foods is their little way of protecting the environment. For others, there are several benefits and health-related reasons for their actions.
Depending on who you ask and the studies you read, there are several benefits of shifting to an organic diet. In this article, the focus will be on benefits that are backed by science. Read on to learn more about these benefits.
Benefits of Organic Products
It Provides Healthy Fats
According to information from publication by the British Journal of Nutrition in 2016, organic products provide omega-3 fatty acids up to 50% more than conventional farm produce. These include both milk and meat.
The omega-3 fatty acids are an unsaturated healthy fat that is beneficial to the body. The presence of saturated fat is also much lower in organic milk when compared to non-organic milk.
According to the authors of the study, these benefits may stem from how the livestock is bred. Livestock for organic produce usually spend more time outdoors and follow a diet that includes lots of grass. You can maintain or reduce your saturated fat and calorie intake when you switch to organic products, while simultaneously increasing your omega-3 consumption.
Limited Use of Synthetic Growth Hormones and Antibiotics
Synthetic growth hormones and antibiotics are commonly used in breeding conventional livestock. These synthetic growth hormones are necessary for the rapid weight gain and increase in milk production, but are not used in poultry. On the other hand, antibiotics grant protection against illnesses.
The use of antibiotics allows most farmers to breed livestock in conditions that are unsanitary or crowded. Without these antibiotics, these conditions would be deadly to the animals.
Although there is a limit to the use of some antibiotics by the FDA, farmers still take advantage of some loopholes. The issue with these antibiotics and growth hormones is that people may be exposed to them in trace amounts through the produce.
The trace amounts build up as residue, and can later lead to antibiotic resistance in individuals. Consumers also have a higher risk of cancer due to the synthetic growth hormone in dairy products and meat. With organic produce, these issues can be avoided and you can find more here.
Pesticides and Heavy Metals are in Low Quantities
One common issue with conventional farming is the overdependence on chemicals such as artificial fertilizers and synthetic pesticides in the growth of crops. In the case of organic produce, only a small quantity of these pesticides and fertilizers are used. These are those approved by the National Organic Standard Board.
Although produce from conventional farming is still edible, there are still some concerns amongst experts. These concerns stem from the adverse effect repeated exposure to these chemicals will have on the body. An example is the case of the insecticide chlorpyrifos and the herbicide, Roundup.
In the case of chlorpyrifos, some studies associate it with developmental delays in toddlers. Roundup, on the other hand, is currently classified as a “probable human carcinogen” – a substance that promotes cancer.
Other issues include the possibility of pesticide residues leading to a reduction in sperm quality and ADHD prevalence in children. The effect on children takes into consideration the level of the residue present in the urine of the kids.
All these are avoidable through the consumption of organic products. This is according to a meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The 2014 journal showed that the possibility of detecting toxic heavy metals like cadmium is 48% less likely in organic produce. This is due to the fertilization technique in use.
Toxic metals usually form residues in the kidney and livers.
Higher Antioxidant Levels in Certain Situations
Another benefit of organic products is its higher antioxidant levels. This stands true for some instances. In short-term studies, the antioxidant levels were similar for both conventional and organic products, but this changes with long-term studies.
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a six-year study as proof. In this study, the results showed 20% more oxidant content in organic onions than the conventional onions. The research also states that it focuses on just a single aspect of phytochemicals.
This statement implies that there is no conclusive study to prove that organic foods provide more nutrients than conventional produce. A future study that takes into account other minerals and vitamins will be necessary.
In short studies, the similarities in antioxidant levels may be due to different factors like weather and length of the study.
Despite these benefits of organic products, a common issue affecting their consumption is the cost. In comparison to conventional produce, most organic products cost more. This can make it difficult for many individuals to male the switch from conventional products to organic products.
To ease the process for those that can’t fully make the switch, then focusing on the foods you consume daily is an excellent approach. You can also go online and research to determine the foods that contain the most pesticide residues.
Switching to organic proteins – meat, dairy, and eggs – is also a positive step. You must understand that organic diets can still be unhealthy if you don’t eat right. Too many vegetables with too little meat will have adverse effects.
After going through the benefits of organic products, you must determine why you need to switch to organic products. For anyone looking to consume foods that provide more nutrients, then switching to organic products hasn’t been proven to do so.
On the other hand, anyone looking to minimize pesticide residue exposure and heavy metal build-up, then organic products offer an excellent option.
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