What are the health benefits of eating organic food? Hmm, good question. But perhaps a more relevant one would be: could we list them all?
Probably not. But let’s try and wrap it up in a nutshell.
- Higher nutrient density
Many studies have shown organic food to be significantly higher in key nutrients including calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, flavanoids, antioxidants, selenium and vitamin C. Studies also show that organic food contains:
- Higher quality protein
- 27% more vitamin C
- 5-20% higher mineral levels for all but two minerals
- 21-300% more iron
- 29% more magnesium
Additionally, it is believed that organically grown plants produce more antioxidants in order to defend themselves against insects and other environmental threats.
- Fewer chemicals
Organic food is produced without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers. This means that consumers of organic food are not exposed to toxins such as benzene, toluene, organophosphates, mercury and lead in their food, which are commonly used in the conventional production of agriculture. It is particularly important for children and pregnant women to avoid these toxins, which by some reports cause conditions which are passed down through generations.
- Fresher and tastier
Organic food doesn’t contain preservatives to extend its shelf life, which means it is sold fresher and – by effect – tastes fresher.
- Better for the environment
Because organic food is produced using fewer chemicals, it causes less air, water and soil pollution and causes less harm to the surrounding wildlife. By eliminating the need for chemical products, organic farming also reduces the amount of energy used throughout the production process.
- Better for livestock
No hormone injections, antibiotics or animal by-products are given to organically raised animals. In conventional agriculture, animals are often fed antibiotics which contribute to the creation of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Which means that if you become ill from one of these “super strains”, you will be less responsive to antibiotic treatment.
By definition, certified organic food in Australia is GMO-free, which means it has not been genetically altered to resist biological attack from pests. While this might seem like a point of disadvantage, in fact large scale production of genetically modified organisms has been proven to cause both health threats (such as increased levels of allergic reactions in children) and environmental hazards (such as reduced effectiveness of pesticides).
Why choose organic? If you’re not yet convinced of the health benefits of eating organic food, try making the switch for a few weeks and let us know in the comments sections how you feel after. (A fully stocked range of organic and whole foods is available at our online store.) If you encounter trouble deciphering the maze of organic food labelling in Australia, check out our article “Understanding Organic Food Labelling”.