Many people are still unaware or confused about the question of what is organic food, which growing techniques actually make food organic and which does not. While organic food may have several definitions and may vary country to country and even marketer to marketer, many countries have adopted general set of rules to classify organic food products from conventional products. Organic food products differ from natural food products. Organic products are cultivated without the use of chemicals like pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers in case of vegetables and fruits. In case of meat products, the animal is raised without antibiotics, steroid and fed on left over farm produce etc. Natural food products aren’t same as organic products as when “natural” tagged products are grown, care is taken to keep only processing as low as possible. Following points will explain you what is organic food with their growing conditions. These points may vary by country to country but generally all are included to classify food items as organic.
What Is Organic Food?
Food which are cultivated and harvested without the use of synthetic chemicals such as insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers etc and no artificial processing is done post harvest are known as organic food.
Growing Conditions Of Organic Products To Classify Them As “Organic”
- Grown without the use of insecticides and pesticides – The ever and fast increasing world population gave rise to the food shortage. This resulted in the need to increase production by decreasing food wastage by insects and pests as they are responsible for tremendous loss of food. But while solving one problem, another arose. Insecticides and pesticides are responsible many health conditions when accumulated in large quantity in your body. Studies have shown that they are responsible for causing cancer, neurological problems, birth defects when consumed by pregnant women and many more. In addition to that it also causes drastic affects on plants and animals nearby.
- Grown without fertilizers – Whenever we question what is organic food? These 2 points should be 1st to come in our mind. They are also grown without the use of fertilizers. This causes the products to have good flavour as they are small in size compared to normally grown food stuff. Use of large amount of fertilizers causes the soil to get more salt and makes it useless over time. Also, products grown on fertilizers were observed to be less in nutrients per volume.
- Meat & Poultry obtained from naturally grown animals – When you have a question about organic food and when you talk about products from animal sources, the answer is simple. Meat obtained from animals which are grown on natural diet without the use of antibiotics, steroid etc is classified as organic. Antibiotics and steroid are chiefly used to increase the size and fasten the growth of animal, these results in more muscle mass and weight. So ultimately more money per animal is generated in less time. We will be talking about the bad effects of this growth technique below.
- Minimal after processing – When you are talking about organic fruits and vegetables, most are processed further after harvest to increase shelf life. Use of radiation and preservatives are common to prevent the growth of bacteria or to kill them. When you are talking about animal products, they are processed more and canned. These all processes have their side effect which we will be talking about in the benefits section below.
Above are the common points which food items should meet in order for them to be classified and labelled as “organic” in many countries. Now we will move our attention to benefits of organic food.
Advantages Of Consuming Organic Grown Products
- High nutrient value with enhanced flavours – The organic products are small in size and are concentrated. This causes their flavours to enhance due to less water and more nutrients. As we mentioned above, they aren’t processed so their nutrients remain intact. Many studies point that use of radiation or preservatives depreciates the nutrient content in the food stuff. Processing food is also linked with causes of obesity. So when you are consuming organic stuff you will be getting whole some nutrients.
- Healthy for your body – Organically grown foods don’t contain harmful pesticides and insecticides residues which may cause cancer and other health problems. To know more you can refer cancer causing foods article. Hence they are healthy for you and more to your children as they are growing. In fact research carried out in University of California, Davis suggested that organic products such as tomatoes contain more amounts of antioxidants which are very important for us to fight cancer. Another research carried out in Danish institutes suggests that organic milk is healthier than normal milk as it doesn’t contain pesticides etc used on normal crops. It has also shown to contain more antioxidants.
- Healthy for your heart – Organic animal products obtained from grass grazed animals are observed to contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This acid is special because is thought to increase your cardiac protection. Such observation is done in all animals which were grazed free and not on conventional crop diet. Hence such food consumption is thought to be excellent for your heart health.
- Boosts your immune system – Organic products especially animal origin are known to boost your immune system. This is primarily because they don’t contain antibiotics and steroids. Antibiotics consumption through meat is responsible for antibiotic resistance and compromised immune system. There are also many other foods stuff specific which boosts your immune system.