It seems like the new health-craze these days is called “organic food”. You can buy everything, from produce to breads, soda, and chocolate, in health food stores, all carrying the label “organic”.
But does this automatically mean it’s a healthy food? Far from it. Just like other labels, namely “gluten free” or “sugar free”, organic food is just a slightly different version of the same food we’ve been eating for a long time.
The organic market is growing fast and makes up 4% of the overall food market by now. Even the big conventional chains are now offering almost every type of food as an organic version too because the organic sales have almost quadrupled over the last 10 years! Clearly, people are more conscious about their food choices and asking for healthy alternatives.
But what is the definition of organic food? Besides the fact that it’s been produced sustainably, it also wasn’t treated with any artificial pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation.
Avoiding all of these will already improve your health quite a bit since you only feed your body what’s supposed to be nourishing. But when you give yourself permission to consume any food as long as it’s organic – you might just be fooling yourself.
Choose your food wisely
Organic chocolate is still made with heaps of sugar and fat, organic chips are still fried, organic red meat is still a carcinogen, and organic soda is basically just sugary bubbly water. Although you will be getting less chemical contamination, your body still wants to eat natural and healthful food.
So when deciding which foods you should buy, go for a healthy basis first. Is it nourishing? Is it full of antioxidants? Does it provide you with clean fuel? Will it have any harmful effects?
Not only can this save you a lot of health issues – it will also be beneficial to your wallet because simple whole foods are the cheapest on the market.
That being said, of course you should try to buy your food from an organic brand as often as possible. A 2014 study conducted in Melbourne found that eating organic for only one week reduces urine pesticide levels by almost 90 %. So this makes a huge difference!
Here are the top 4 reasons you should buy organic:
- Nutritional Value
Some studies have shown that organic foods contain 19 – 69 % higher amounts of antioxidants than their conventional counterparts. This makes perfect sense since they haven’t been treated with or protected by any pesticides or herbicides and, therefore, need to be much more resilient. This is the exact feature that helps our bodies become more resilient as well and fight off disease!
This is of course a subjective matter, but it goes to show that more and more gourmet chefs start to choose organic because of the superior taste and quality. And many customers agree! One of the top reasons for buying organic is the perceived better taste. This is especially true for produce that was derived from local farms close to where it’s sold – so it had the chance to ripen properly and unfold its full flavor.
- Chemical exposure
When you minimize the intake of disease-causing pesticides, you can do your health a great favor. The chemicals we’re exposed to when consuming conventional food are linked to headaches, nausea, even cancer and nerve damage! Even though we might not be able to avoid all toxins that surround us, we can at least look out for those that are obvious and easy to get rid of. What’s more, many conventional foods are GMOs, which have been shown to lead to problems when tested on animals. Better not take the risk
Organic farming aims to reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. This means it’s far better for the environment and can produce healthier food for a longer time without depleting the soil. Since no artificial pesticides are being used, this technique is also better for all animals as well as humans living nearby or even working on the farms.
So what should you do with this information now? Go all out and spend a lot of money at a health food store?
Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can improve your diet and decrease your chemical exposure by opting for organic foods when it comes to apples, potatoes, spinach, or tomatoes. Other produce isn’t as contaminated, like avocado, cauliflower, mangoes, or onions.
If you’d like to learn more about eating a simple, healthful, and affordable diet, you can read our Guide to Eating Healthy on a Budget or join our Free Course in Transitioning to a Healthy Plant-Based Diet.
Do you always buy organic? Do you think it’s worth it? And what are the benefits you have experienced so far? Let us know in the comments below.