But is it really beneficial to health? What foods should you consider eating organic? What types of diets should you follow? Are they safer? Are they more nutritious? Let us take a closer look at what it means to eat organic foods. High fibre foods and high protein foods help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What is Organic Food?
A broad definition of organic food is any food item that is produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming. The standards of what is organic may vary from nation to nation, however, organic farming includes practices that promote ecological balance. Depending on the regulating agency, organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in the farming process. Organic foods typically do not contain industrial solvents or synthetic food additives.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines pertaining to a variety of factors including soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives.
Also, according to the USDA, organic produce must be grown on soil that had synthetic fertilizers and pesticides for three years prior to harvest.
When it comes to organic meat, U.S. regulations require that animals are raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviours, such as the ability to graze on pasture, fed 100% organic feed, and not administered antibiotics or hormones.
If your product contains a "USDA Organic" label, that means it contains at least 95 per cent organic ingredients and was approved by an expert to make sure the farmer followed the strict USDA requirements.
Organic is Not the Same as Natural
If you see the word “natural" on a food label, you should know it doesn’t mean the same as "organic." In general, if you see the word "natural" on a food label, it means that it has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Unlike organic products, a natural product does not refer to the methods or materials used to produce food ingredients.
Other common food labels should also not be confused with organic labels. For example, the labels "free-range" or "hormone-free," do not indicate organic certification.
Is Organic Food Better for You?
Those that advocate organic food say it is better than conventional food because it’s safer, more nutritious, and better for the environment.
However, many argue there’s still not enough data to prove that organic food is better for you.
When it comes to whether organic food contains fewer pesticides, research has shown that organic food does contain less pesticide residue than conventional food. Having said that, the amount of pesticide residue found in conventional food is still well below the level that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers unsafe.
In the U.K., 2009, a report published by the Food Standards Agency concluded that organic produce did not deliver significant health benefits compared to non-organic counterparts.
The true question remains, whether the small doses of pesticide residue add up over time and cause health issues in the long run.
Which Organics Produce to Choose?
Going completely organic can be expensive, and so it might help to pick and choose what you buy. But which ones should you go for?
Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a special guide to pesticides in produce called the “Dirty Dozen.”
According to the EWG, the following 12 produce varieties contain the highest traces of pesticides. This means it might be worth the effort to go the extra mile and buy organic when it comes to the following:
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