In recent years, the world has seen an increased demand for organic food both in restaurants and supermarkets. The word “organic” is creeping its way into more and more conversations of health enthusiasts everywhere. It is hard to avoid it when you go to get your groceries, but what does it actually mean?
Organic food is produce grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals. Farmers have to use natural options to protect their products from insects and weeds. The only fertilizer that can be used is natural compost. Moreover, after harvesting of produce, it cannot be treated with preservatives, such as wax. GMO food, or food tampered with by scientists in any way, can also not be considered organic.
Organic farming has two main goals: to protect the environment and to increase sustainability. Meat and other animal products can also be organic. The animals need to be raised in a natural environment, given organic feed and have access to the outdoors. They cannot be given antibiotics or hormones.
The Benefits of Organic Food
Apart from the two main environmental benefits of organic food, it has many other benefits related to health and other spheres of life.
- Organic food is fresher. It does not contain preservatives, so you know that it has been picked recently.
- Organic food is healthier. Organic food does not contain pesticides or chemicals, which can be very bad for health.
- Organic food is richer in nutrients. Since organic food is given more time to ripen and cultivated in a more natural environment, it contains more vitamins and minerals.
- Organic food is GMO–free. The DNA of organic food is not changed in any way. When you buy organic food, you know that it is just as nature has created it.
- Organic food does not destroy the soil. Organic food does not exhaust the soil and take all of the nutrients out of it. This way, the same soil can be used for generations to come.
Types of Organic Labels
In the United States, the USDA has three different labels associated with organic food. These labels exist in many other countries in the world.
- 100% Organic. This label is often used on fruits and vegetables and means that it is produced by following all the rules of organic cultivation.
- Organic. The product is at least 90% organic.
- Made from Organic. The product is at least 75% organic.
Should You Always Buy Organic?
This is a good question that a lot of people are asking. If you can afford to eat 100% organic and if you can easily find organic ingredients, you should definitely do so. However, some foods have a higher pesticide saturation rate than others. You should pay attention when it comes to these foods and always buy the organic version if you can find it and afford it. These high-risk foods are apples, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, grapes, cherry tomatoes, spinach, peaches, strawberries, kale, and many others.