Going Organic? by Medimanage.com
You see celebrities swearing by them and environmentalists talking about it as it were the solution to the entire world’s environmental problem. When it comes to organic food, you really wonder if it is just hype or whether it is actually that great.
This article aims to give you information about organic food that will help you decide whether to buy it or ignore it the next time you see it in the supermarket.
What exactly is Organic?
The word ‘organic’ refers to the way these foods are produced. Organic farming is carried without the use of chemicals in the fertilizers and pesticides with the help of natural fertilizers and methods. They are considered to be more healthy and enivronment friendly than conventionally grown foods.
Why go Organic?
One of the major reasons that you should consider going organic is to avoid consumption of fruits and vegetables that are sprayed with harmful pesticides. This is because exposure to pesticides leads to several diseases and complications especially in children. A research says that on an average, non organic foods contain more than 20 pesticides.
Repeated use of chemical fertilizers also deteriorates the chemical composition of the soil and pollutes the land and water sources in the area.
According to a study by Dr Virginia Worthington published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, organic food contains 27 per cent more vitamin C, 21 per cent more iron, 29 per cent more magnesium and 13 per cent more phosphorous than conventional foods.
Organic food is also perceived to taste better and fresher than regular food. But long term studies are needed to establish if organic food is indeed nutritionally better than conventional food.
As a buyer you should know that Organic foods are-
Not the best looking in town
If you envisioned organic foodstuff as shiny, brightly colored and better looking than normal foods, then you are mistaken. Organic foods are sometimes smaller, in odd shapes and with different colors than regular ones. But this has nothing to do with the nutritious quantity of the food, so don’t fret.
Organic foods are not sprayed with pesticides and preservatives hence there are chances that they are prone to spoil earlier than the regular foods so buy in small quantities and use them soon after buying.
Organic foods cost 15-30% higher than normal foodstuffs. The higher cost is due to expensive farming methods. Since farmers do not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, they have to use labor extensive methods to grow organic food. Sometimes organic foods can be 2-3 times costlier than regular foods. So when you are buying organic food, make sure that you buy from reputed brands so that you get your money’s worth.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine studied the nutritional content of organically and conventionally grown foods over the decades. They compared the two groups of foods across 13 nutrient categories. They found no significant differences between the two groups in 10 out the 13 nutrient categories compared.
Organic food supporters say that the study looked at researches and studies that were old and out dated and also did not include other important categories like polyphenols. More research is needed to conclusively prove whether organic food is indeed nutritionally superior.
Views from Nutritionist
Jyoti Lalwaani, a nutritionist says that though she believes that organic foods are richer in nutrients than conventional foods, she does not necessarily recommend organic foods as a thumb rule to everyone. The reason she explains that ” firstly affordability and today even conventional vegetables and foods are quite expensive, even when you do buy organic food; you lose plenty of vitamins and nutrients in the process of cooking. Over that some organic vegetables are sold in pre-cut packages which means they have already lost some of the nutrients. Today’s lifestyle dictates that you cook in the morning and have it at night, this storing and reheating also causes loss of vitamins. So there are not many nutrients that you actually gain from it.”
She however concedes that if you consume organic foods in salads then you may actually benefit from them. She feels that use of organic supplements will be more better because then you actually get the nutrients fully in your system.To read more about Going Organic?
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