THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR RECOVERY
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September 10th, 2015 8:50am
Organic food is a hot topic at the moment, some controversy surrounds the organic movement but there is also a lot of support! Not only does the support for organic food grow at a rapid pace, but the support of research promoting the many health benefits has also grown. Before taking a look at the benefits and impact that it may have, let’s dive into what this movement actually is.
The word “organic” refers to how food is grown and processed. Organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, GMOs, and other harmful chemicals. Organic meat and poultry does not come from animals that have been given growth hormones or antibiotics. This breakdown of the definition has led the USDA to identify three types of organic food and products.
Category 1: “100% Organic” Means that the food is only made up of organic ingredients.
Category 2: “Organic” Refers to foods that are made with at least 95% organic ingredients.
Category 3: “Made with Organic Ingredients” Informs the consumer that the food is at least 70% organic.
This breakdown can help consumers better understand what they are purchasing.
Although the benefits of eating organic food are still being researched, there are some findings that can support better health and a better environment.
Organic Food is Better for Farmers: One bonus of organic foods is that they can provide healthier conditions for farmers and their families. Farmers can eliminate the need to purchase and use pesticides, as they are not needed when growing organic foods. This removes the need to touch or breathe these chemicals while working on the farm.
Organic Food is Better for the Environment: Avoiding the use of pesticides means that we are avoiding the negative impact that they have on our environment. Children playing nearby and farmers working in the fields are not exposed. Chemical residues from crops using pesticides can also contaminate nearby water sources. If pesticides cease to be used then we can rest assured knowing that they will not get into our water supply. Organic farms have less to worry about when it comes to illnesses caused by the various chemicals used to grow food.
Organic Food is Commonly More Humane: Animals raised on organic farms are often healthier and better cared for. They are not injected with growth hormones or antibiotics. In turn, this means that they will grow at a normal rate. Another benefit; organic farmers have natural and healthy living conditions for the animals. This provides a more comfortable lifestyle for the livestock, reducing the cramped nature and build up of dirt and excrements. This includes the animals having access to the outside, access to a pasture, and plenty of sunlight.
Organic Food is Better for Our Bodies: Our bodies can suffer harm from exposure to pesticides. No matter how many times we wash our food, we can never fully rid it of the fertilizer and chemicals. This can be especially dangerous for young children as the toxins can cause severe illnesses. Without these toxins, our bodies can more easily absorb food’s pure nutrients. Research suggests that organic food is also higher in antioxidants and flavor. In addition, they are more nutritious because they are not enhanced in color and size. Without these enhancements and the addition of GMOs it is suspected that there will be less food-related allergies. It is possible that people are allergic to the additives, not to the actual food. In conclusion, by taking a few extra minutes to research our food options we can make healthier choices and improve overall health.
It is important to remember that not all foods have to be organic in order to be healthy. Here is a bit more information on the foods that should be organic and how you can determine what does not need to be. The most important foods that should be bought organic are fruits and vegetables that are consumed whole. If you eat the skin then be sure to buy organic so that pesticide consumption can be avoided. Foods such as bananas, onions, avocados and others that do not have edible skin, are ok if not bought organic. As far as snacks and other foods go, you can use your judgement. Some foods that are not organic can still be good for you. Take a look at the labels and steer clear of anything that is high in sugars, contains hydrogenated oils, and has been enhanced in color and size. Pick and choose the foods that you eat the most and the ones that you think are most nutritious if bought organic, that should help keep costs down. Happy shopping!
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