In recent years, organic food has become popular, with many people choosing to buy as much organic produce as they can. But what is organic food? And what are the benefits of purchasing and consuming organic produce? Let’s explore these questions in depth.
Organic Food Definition
Organic farming methods adhere to strict guidelines. They prohibit the use of most human-made chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs. They also exclude the use of animal growth-hormones, livestock feed additives, and routine antibiotics.
Organic farming aligns closer with nature and promotes sustainable food production. It benefits the environment and local flora and fauna by using crop rotation, organic manure fertilizers, and biological pest and weed control measures.
Organic standards vary from country to country, but to display the organic symbol on the packaging, the producers need to adhere to the standards of their country. Composite foods usually need to contain at least 95% organic ingredients to be labeled organic.
Benefits of Organic Food – Health
Many chronic health conditions have been attributed to the ingestion of human-made chemicals. These chemicals enter the body from the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the products we put on our skin and use to clean our homes. As toxins and chemicals accumulate in the system faster than they can be detoxified, they end up causing us hormonal imbalances, mood and stress issues, inflammation, organ damage and overload, and a whole host of other problems.
We can’t always change the air we breathe, but we can choose the food, water, and products we consume. By choosing to put mainly organic food and pure water into our bodies, we can dramatically reduce the build-up of toxins and help the body to function at its best.
Organic food is often fresher because it contains fewer preservatives to extend its shelf-life. Nutrient content diminishes after harvesting, so fresher fruit and vegetables usually contain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Benefits of Organic Food – Environment and Community
The benefits of organic food reach way beyond our health. Organic farming is better for the environment too. Chemicals used in conventional farming methods pollute waterways, kill natural habitats, and cause soil erosion. Using organic methods promotes biodiversity, translates to fewer chemicals in our waterways, and higher animal welfare standards.
Intensive animal agriculture, also known as factory farming, is one of the main contributors to climate change because it produces vast levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide are released in staggering amounts both from the animals themselves and the fossil fuels burned in the production and transportation of the meat products.
Factory farming pollutes the water and land with toxic waste and uses up to 70 percent of the world’s fresh water supplies, which are diminishing fast. Intensive animal agriculture is also a substantial contributing factor to deforestation. Hundreds of millions of acres of rainforests are slashed and burned to grow crops to feed animals on factory farms. This food could be used to provide food for people in disadvantaged communities worldwide, eliminating world hunger.
Buying local organic produce helps your local community because small-scale farmers often produce organic food and sell it at farmer’s markets and health food shops. Buying local reduces your carbon footprint as you are not purchasing food that has been flown halfway around the world. You also reduce your plastic waste footprint since most local producers will sell their produce loose or in paper bags or cartons.