10 Reasons To Eat Organic
1. It's healthy
On average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and
essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants.
2. No nasty additives
Organic food doesn't contain food additives which can cause
health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, migraines and hyperactivity. Amongst the additives banned by the Soil
Association are hydrogenated fat, aspartame (artificial sweetener) and monosodium glutamate.
3. Avoids pesticides
Over 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional
farming and residues are often present in non-organic food. The UK government has recently found high levels of pesticide
residues in baby food, spinach, dried fruit, bread, apples, celery, and chips.
4. No GM
Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under
organic standards. Read more...
5. Reliance on drugs removed
There is growing concern about the high use of antibiotics
on farm animals and the possible effects on human health. Soil Association standards prohibit the routine use of antibiotics.
6. No hidden costs
Compare this with the £120m that tax payers fork out to pay
for removing chemicals from drinking water, mainly as a result of the pesticides used in farming.
7. High standards
Organic food comes from trusted sources. All organic farms and
food companies are inspected at least once a year. The standards for organic food are laid down in European law.
8. Care for animals
Animal welfare is taken very seriously under organic standards.
The benefits of the organic approach are acknowledged by animal welfare organisations such as Compassion in World Farming
as well as the UK government. Read more...
9. Good for wildlife and the environment
The UK government has said that organic
farming is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide - the main global warming
gas - and less dangerous wastes. Read more...
10. Top for taste
Many people prefer organic food because they say it tastes better.
A number of top chefs choose organic, and every year many are involved in the Soil Association's organic food awards. Read more...
Report Confirms More Health Benefits of Organic food
Public release date: 3-Mar-2003
Contact: Allison Byrum
Organically grown foods higher in cancer-fighting chemicals
conventionally grown foods
Fruits and veggies grown organically show significantly higher levels of
antioxidants than conventionally grown foods, according to a
new study of corn, strawberries and marionberries. The research
that pesticides and herbicides actually thwart the production of phenolics <
chemicals that act as a plant's
natural defense and also happen to be good
for our health. Fertilizers, however, seem to boost the levels of
The findings appear in the Feb. 26 print edition of the Journal of
Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a
peer-reviewed journal of the American
Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The article was
published Jan. 25 on the journal's Web site.
Flavonoids are phenolic compounds that have potent antioxidant activity.
are produced in plants in response to environmental stressors, such as
insects or competing plants.
"If an aphid
is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend
itself," says Alyson Mitchell, Ph.D., a food scientist at
the University of
California, Davis, and lead author of the paper. "Bitter or harsh phenolics
guard the plant against
The need for these natural safeguards decreases with the use of herbicides
and pesticides in conventional
agriculture. This decrease is reflected in
the total amount of antioxidants the plants produce. "This helps explain why
level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food,"
Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce
from these pests, we
decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are
doing something to our
Mitchell measured antioxidants found in corn, strawberries and a type of
a marionberry. "We started with these three due to plant
availability," Mitchell explains, "but we intend to widen our
include tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and a variety of other vegetables. We
expect these results to be transferable
to most produce."
The investigation compared the total antioxidants found in foods grown
organically (using no herbicides,
pesticides or fertilizers) to foods grown
sustainably (in this study fertilizers but no herbicides or pesticides were
and conventionally (using synthetic chemicals to protect the plants
and increase yield).
The results showed a significant
increase in antioxidants in organic and
sustainably grown foods versus conventionally grown foods. The levels of
in sustainably grown corn were 58.5 percent higher than
conventionally grown corn. Organically and sustainably grown marionberries
approximately 50 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown
berries. Sustainably and organically grown strawberries
showed about 19
percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown strawberries.
Antioxidant levels were highest
overall in sustainably grown produce, which
indicates that a combination of organic and conventional practices yields
highest levels of antioxidants. "This may reflect the balance between
adequate nutrition in the form of fertilizers and
external pest pressures
because of the lack of pesticides and herbicides," Mitchell explains.
"Originally, the question
was just really intriguing to me," says Mitchell,
whose research grew naturally from a personal interest in organic foods.
found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant
impact on health and nutrition, and it's
definitely changed the way I think
about my food."
What's so important about Organic?
Organic produce is just as important for the societal benefits
it brings as it is for the quality or health benefits of the food.
Social and Environmental Benefits of Organic Food Production
Organic farmers have a strong commitment to their land.
If they don't abuse the land, it will provide for them and their families for many years to come. They are far less
likely to use the kind of agricultural processes which result in:
Organic farmers typically spend a lot of time
and effort improving their land. They make compost. They are much more likely to spend and invest their profits
in the surrounding community than are corporate-owned mega-farms and industrial meat-producing facilities. Organic farms tend
to require more labor than corporate mechano-farms. Thus, they could be an ideal generator of low-impact, but rewarding,
jobs for hard-to-place categories of workers, including
- loss of topsoil
- toxic runoff and resulting water pollution
- soil contamination and poisoning
- death of insects, birds, critters and beneficial soil organisms
In some areas, organic farms provide a way for travelers to experience a low-cost and fulfilling
guest experience. A one-or-two month stay on an organic farm is appealing to many individuals wishing a time-out from
our stressed out, hi-tech world.
- Chemically injured
- At-risk youth
- Welfare families
- Mentally challenged non-violent
- Rehabbing substance abusers
More depth into the philosophy, environmental and social benefits
of community-scaled organic farming can be found by reading these books.
Here is the short list of the benefits of organic food.
- No pesticide, herbicide, fungicide residues on food
- Less chlorine chemistry into our environment.
- No synthetic fertilizer residuals built into plants
- No genetically engineered organisms or varieties.
- Intense, realistic flavors.
- Higher vitamin content
- Higher mineral content and greater mineral variety.
Don't forget, the best way to get fresh, organic fruits and
vegetables is by growing them in your own garden.
Individual Benefits of Organic Food
We maintain that organic foods are higher in vitamins and minerals than conventionally produced foods, because the soil has a greater
variety of living organisms and trace minerals. There is some anecdotal evidence to support this theory. Here is an introduction to that subject.
Conventional farmers add mostly nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium
(the old N-P-K) to the soil, perhaps a little calcium or sulfur if needed. They rarely, if ever, add expensive secondary,
tertiary or trace soil elements. Once a conventional farmer uses up the minerals endemic in his soil, which takes only a few
crop rotations, the food subsequently produced is low or devoid of these nutrients. Additionally, conventional farmers
use chemicals which kill minute soil dwelling bacteria. Many of these bacteria enhance the plant's ability to synthesize
or absorb nutrients.
Organic farmers, on the other hand, use things like compost,
rock dust, and kelp meal, which contain dozens of different trace minerals and soil builders. Organic farmers try to
increase the number of beneficial soil organisms, rather than killing them.
One of the main individual benefits of eating organic is that
there are no pesticide residues on your food. In 1995, U.S. farmers applied 566 million pounds of pesticides to food crops
and growing fields. Although much of it runs off farms and into your drinking water, a fair portion of it finds its way to
your table. A 1996 study by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation found detectable pesticide residues on
34 percent of more than 5,500 samples of fresh produce, and California has some of the toughest pesticide regulations in the
In a study release in 1999, Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer
Reports magazine, found much of the produce sold in this country "contains toxic pesticide levels high enough to be
dangerous for young children."
According to the Environmental Working Group, the 12 most pesticide-laden
fruits and vegetables are: (in order of toxicity)
- Bell Peppers (tie)
- Spinach (tie)
- Cherries (USA)
- Cantaloupe (Mexico)
- Green Beans
- Grapes (Chile)
Always buy organic when purchasing these products! Always
buy organic meat and fat products, too, because pesticides accumulate in fats and as you go up the food chain.
Many sites discuss organic food and agriculture: A few
of the best are:
Help support your local organic farmers by joining a CSA, sometimes
known as a share farm. CSA stands for community supported agriculture.
- You can find a CSA near you, and find out about some really
esoteric organic gardening stuff, by exploring Biodynamic Agriculture.
- Even the US Government is getting in on the CSA scene.
They have aggregated quite a few CSA resources.
Permaculture is a system of land use which is in harmony with organic crop
production, but also takes in many other sustainable human systems. It is not as well known in the US as in most other parts of the world.
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