Organic agriculture is a production method that emphasizes the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality. Organic food products are produced using:
- Agricultural management practices that promote healthy eco-systems and prohibit the use of genetically engineered seeds or crops, sewage sludge, long-lasting pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
- Livestock management practices that promote healthy, humanely treated animals by providing organically-grown feed, fresh air and outdoor access while using no antibiotics or added growth hormones.
- Food processing practices that protect the integrity of the organic product and disallow irradiation, genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) or synthetic preservatives.
The reasons to eat organic just got bigger, another study (among many) examining conventionally grown produce vs organically grown produce has made its way into the public domain. This one was conducted by researchers and scientists who examined 343 peer-reviewed studies to determine if organic food is really better for you compared to conventional produce.
The study was recently published in The British Journal of Nutrition and identified a clear difference between organic and non-organic food. (1)
Demand for organic foods is partially driven by consumers’ perceptions that they are more nutritious. However, scientific opinion is divided on whether there are significant nutritional differences between organic and non-organic foods, and two recent reviews have concluded that there are no differences. In the present study, we carried out meta-analyses based on 343 peer-reviewed publications that indicate statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops/crop-based foods.(1)
Organic Produce Is More Nutritious
The study emphasized that the concentrations of a wide variety of antioxidants were found to be far greater in organic crops than those within conventional crops. Antioxidants are extremely important when it comes to human health. They are responsible for cleaning out multiple organs in the body, preventing cancer, heart disease, aging, neurological disorders and more. Glutathione is a great example; it contains sulfur chemical groups that work to trap and flush all the bad things like free radicals and toxins such as mercury and heavy metals in our body. This is especially important in our current world of heavy metal bombardment.
A group of compounds known as flavanones, for example, were 69 percent higher in organic produce. (1)
Many of these compounds have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including CVD and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers, in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies. (1)
It doesn’t stop there, the study also found significantly higher concentrations of pesticide residue to be present in conventional crops, approximately 4 times more so than in organic crops. Conventional crops also contained “significantly higher concentrations of the toxic metal Cd. (1)
While we are on the topic of pesticides, a recent study conducted by researchers from RMIT university, published in the journal Environmental Research found that an organic diet for just one week significantly (90 %) reduced pesticide (commonly used in conventional food production) exposure in adults.(2)
Organic Crops Contain Much Less Harmful Substances
Back to the present study:
In conclusion, organic crops, on average, have higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower concentrations of Cd and a lower incidence of pesticide residues than the non-organic compactor across regions and production seasons. (1)
Organic food is more labor intensive since the farmers do not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or drugs. Organic certification and maintaining this status is expensive. Organic feed for animals can cost twice as much. Organic farms tend to be smaller than conventional farms, which means fixed costs and overhead must be distributed across smaller produce volumes.
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