Organically grown, gluten-free, all natural…these are health buzzwords you’re bound to see plastered on food labels whenever you visit a grocery store or farmer’s market.
But what does organic really mean and what are the benefits of eating organic veggies?
The USDA Label Reveals Organically Grown Produce
The USDA organic label applies to produce, meat, multi-ingredient foods, and packaged products.
With produce, it can be certified organic if it has grown on soil that has been pesticide- and fertilizer-free for three years before harvest.
The general rule though for organic producers is to always use natural substances and biologically based farming methods whenever possible. This includes processes covering seed sources, weed and pest management, and water systems, to mention a few.
Using this label creates more informed shoppers.
So Why Eat Organically Grown Veggies?
Organic food has been shown to have environmental and health benefits. Here are the top five reasons why you should consider incorporating more organic foods in your diet.
Here are the top five reasons why you should consider incorporating more organic foods in your diet.
1. It’s Great for the Environment
Organic farming is all about keeping the soil healthy. When the soil is healthy, farmers can do away with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can pollute groundwater courses.
In Germany, for example, switching to organic agriculture is encouraged because conventional/industrial farming has ruined water quality. Plus, tap water that’s contaminated with nitrates or phosphates is more expensive to treat.
2. There’s Less Exposure to Pesticides and Heavy Metals
You’ve probably come across articles about Roundup (weed killer). It has been deemed by California health officials as a carcinogen.
There’s also chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that can overstimulate the nervous system, according to the EPA. In high doses, chlorpyrifos is lethal, which is why workers need to wear personal protective equipment when handling it.
Organic farming only uses organic pesticides and fertilizers.
This means you don’t have to worry about the risks associated with synthetic pesticides. The differences in fertilization methods also decrease your exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium, which can damage the liver and kidneys.
3. You Get More Antioxidants
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry looked at the antioxidant content of organically grown onions.
The researchers found out that compared to conventionally grown onions, the organic ones showed more antioxidant activity.
Total flavonoid content is also higher in organic onions.
Flavonoids, as you may already know, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and neuroprotective benefits. The researchers attribute these to differences in soil management practices.
4. They Taste Better
Since organic produce doesn’t contain preservatives, they can’t be on the shelves for a long time. As a result, organic fruits and vegetables taste better because they’re fresher.
This is another reason that shopping organic trumps preservative-laden alternatives any day.
5. You Can Grow Them Yourself
The problem with buying organic produce is they tend to be expensive. But the good news is if you want fresh fruits and veggies, you can start your own organic garden.
It does take some research and lots of effort. But as long as you keep at it, you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor and all the benefits that come with it.
Learn About Indoor Farming
If you’re interested in growing your own organic fruits and veggies, you might want to consider indoor farming and vertical farming.
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