Benefits of Eating Organic
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Choosing to eat organic foods - foods grown without the use of pesticides and other chemicals and using natural methods - is a personal choice driven by several key factors or considerations.
According to a 2003 study published in the journal Appetite, the purchase and consumption of organic foods is most strongly associated with a person’s perceived benefit for their own health, though the desire to perform environmentally friendly actions and consideration for animal welfare are other factors that significantly influence people’s decision to go organic.1 The benefits of eating organic foods are now better understood, though more research will shed valuable light on the far-reaching impact of this healthful practice.
Increased nutritional value is a common perceived benefit of consuming organic foods. Research studies investigating the nutritional content of organic foods versus conventionally grown foods have produced conflicting results. Some studies, such as one published in 2010 in the journal
Agronomy for Sustainable Development, report that non-organic and industrialized food production methods lead to reduced nutrient and flavor contents and that organic plant products contain more minerals and antioxidant micronutrients, including phenols.2 Other studies, including one published in 2002 in the journal Critical Review in Food Science and Nutrition, state that, with the possible exception of nitrate content, there is insufficient evidence that the concentration of
various nutrients differs between conventional and organic foods.3
Reduced Pesticide Consumption
Concern over pesticide ingestion or exposure is a common reason people choose organic foods over conventional foods. Conventional growers use pesticides to reduce the likelihood of molds, insects, and diseases destroying their crops. Pesticide residue may linger on produce after it is harvested. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, the potential health effects of pesticides include nervous and endocrine system problems and skin and eye irritation. Some pesticides, notes the EPA, may be carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents.4 A 2006 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives states that an organic diet provides a significant protective effect against organophosphorus pesticides - pesticides commonly used in conventional agriculture production.5
Food Additive Avoidance
Organic regulations either ban or severely limit the use of common food additives, including colorings and flavorings, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and monosodium glutamate, or MSG. According to the World Health Organization, food additives and contaminants caused by food
manufacturing and processing can have a significant negative effect on your health.6 A 2006 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute notes that boosting your consumption of processed meat - a foodstuff well-known for its inclusion of various additives - may increase your risk for stomach cancer.7
Decreased Environmental Impact
Organic farming methods and practices reduce the environmental impact associated with food production. Organic farming practices require less water, produce less air pollution and conserve soil quality and organic farming techniques may have a beneficial effect on biodiversity too. According to a 2005 review article published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, organic farming often has positive effects on both species richness and abundance.8 The maintenance of natural areas within and around organic fields helps create wildlife habitat and encourages a re-colonizing of the organic area by plants and animals, notes the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.9
Eating organic foods has long-lasting health and environmental implications, and this practice can be considered an important part of ensuring a positive health legacy for future generations.
Your chiropractor understands that healthy dietary practices involve seeking out and consuming the most nutrient-dense and safest foods possible and he or she can further counsel you on the full health benefits of this health strategy. When you choose organic foods you are choosing to invest in your long-term well-being as well as the sustainable farming practices that protect our natural resources.
QUESTION: What is the most common reason for people to choose organically grown food?
A) food tastes better
B) contains more nutrients
C) grown without pesticides
ANSWER: C) grown without pesticides
QUESTION: Finish this sentence...
* uses less water
* produces less air pollution
* conserves soil quality
ANSWER: Organic farming uses less water, produces less air pollution and conserves soil quality!!
TRUE OR FALSE: Organic farming may help to create natural animal and plant habitats.
References and Sources:
1. Magnusson MK, Arvola A, Kovisto Hursti UK, Aberg L, Sjoden PO. Choice of organic foods is related to perceived consequences for human health and to environmentally friendly behavior.
Appetite. 2003. Feb; 40(2):109-117.
2. Lairon, Denis. Nutritional quality and safety of organic food. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Develo pment. 2010. Jan; 30(1): 33-41.
3. Bourn D, Prescott J. A comparison of the nutritional value, sensory qualities, and food safety or organically and conven tionally produced foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2002; 42(1): 1-34.
4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Pesticides: Health and Safety.” http:// www. epa. gov/ pesticides/ health/ human. htm. [accessed 2012 Sep 30].
5. Lu C, Toepel K, Irish R, Fenske R, Barr DB, Bravo R. Organic diets significantly lower children’s dietary exposure to organophosphorus pesticides. Environmental Health Perspectives.
2006. Feb; 114(2): 260-263.
6. World Health Organization. “Chemical Risks in Food.” http:// www. who. int/ foodsafety/ chem/ en/. [accessed 2012 Sep 30].
7. Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. Processed meat consumption and stomach cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2006. Aug; 98(15): 1078-1087.
8. Bengtsson J, Ahnstrom J, Weibull AC. The effects of organic agriculture on biodiversity and abundance: a meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology. 2005. Apr; 42(2): 261-269.
9. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “What are the environmental benefits of organic agriculture?” http:// www. fao. org/ organicag/ oa-faq/ oa-faq6/en/. [accessed 2012 Sep 30].
Disclaimer: Information contained in the Wellness News Network Newsletter is for educational and general purposes only and is designed to assist you in making informed decisions about your health. Any information contained herein is not intended to substitute advice from your physician or other healthcare professional.
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