Once found only in the farmers markets, the organic food trend is gaining momentum as people are becoming more and more conscious about what’s on their plate. They don’t want to add any more toxins and chemicals to the body or the environment, and organic food is a definitely the safest bet for them, because it not only tastes better, but is also more nutritious. Simply put, any food that is produced using traditional methods of agriculture, with minimal use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals is said to be organic. But in recent years, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has started an organic certification program and any food product claiming to be organic has to be USDA certified.
Demand for organic food shot up considerably since 1990, and organic food and beverage sales amounted to approximately 4% of the total food and beverage sales in U.S in 2010. Extensive public opinion about the health benefits of organic food has led to over 30% growth in the organic food industry in the past 5 years.
Transforming your standard diet from conventional to organic is not very difficult. Plan out your groceries list beforehand and be conscious about what you add to your cart the next time you visit the super market. Although this transformation might rise up your grocery budget a bit, but the investment is worth its value.
Instead of conventionally produced vegetables and fruits, go for organic ones, as they are the store house of antioxidants and nutrients. Organically grown fruits and vegetables have a higher level of antioxidants like flavonoids, which helps in fighting cancer. Flavonoids are mostly found in berries such as, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Citrus fruits are also a great source of flavonoids and vitamin C.
As for vegetables, choose the colorful ones, such as red and green bell peppers, ripe red tomatoes, onions, broccoli, kale and garlic that are rich in antioxidants. Opt for rice, bread and pasta made of organically produced wheat and flour, because conventionally produced grains are heavily sprayed with insecticides and pesticides.
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Choose your milk and dairy products with equal care, because non-organic milk produced by conventionally raised cattle has a high risk of pesticides exposure such as, Lindane, which has been linked to breast cancer. Chemicals like Lindane have the capacity to mess up the natural hormone functioning in the body and replicate the effects of estrogen- the primary female sex hormone.
Organic cattle bred in natural living conditions and grazing on open green pastures, produce milk that is unadulterated and has negligible risk of pesticide and chemical exposure. Organic cheese and butter that are produced from organic milk are a better option because they are not only free from harmful chemicals, pesticides, artificial flavor and coloring but also great to taste.
In addition, organic butter and cheese have a higher level of calcium, proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E and antioxidants like Lutein and Beta-carotene that helps in cancer prevention, maintaining a healthy heart, and stronger bones and teeth.
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If you ever get the chance to go inside a commercial poultry farm, it will definitely be the day you transform to a vegan. Thousands of chicken are stuffed up in to the barns with no free space to move about and definitely no fresh air and sun light, that are vital components for any living being. Moreover, hormones and antibiotics used in breeding commercially produced chicken leads to higher risk of cancer and various other health hazards such as, hormonal imbalance, skin irritation and nervous disruption in humans.
That’s why, changeover to free-range poultry and experience the taste of fresh eggs and the tender, complex flavor of leaner chicken that are free of toxins and fat. Free-range poultry are fed on 100% organic feed, free of any chemical residue and are allowed to roam free outdoors year round. Eggs from organic poultry have higher level of amino-acids, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A and E that helps in brain functions, maintains the immune system, prevent cancer and heart disease and maintain healthy red blood cells.
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Going organic doesn’t only limit to what you eat but also what you drink. Conventionally grown grapes and grains used for making wine and beer are sprayed with more than 15 different types of pesticides and research shows that more that 35% pesticides residue has been found in beers. Preservatives in grapes such as sulfur dioxide have adverse effect on health such as nausea, bronchospasm, blurred vision, etc.
Grapes, apples, malts and hops used in making organic wine and beer are spared the treatment with pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. Organic wines and beers not only taste better but has no after effects like hangover and bloating.
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In the recent years, more and more people have turned to organic food because of the rise in production and marketing of genetically modified (GMO) food, the labeling of which is strictly prohibited, and thus, we, the consumers are kept in the dark about the nutritional value and probable health risks of these genetically engineered foods.
Fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, papaya, potatoes, corn, soy, rice and milk are few of the most common genetically modified foods that we have been consuming every day of our life completely unaware of their potential risk. Genetically modified food has been linked with allergies, liver problems, sterility and death. Tests on lab rats that were fed genetically modified vegetables show symptoms of diseases such as cancer, anemia, bleeding stomach, intestinal damage, allergies and infections.
Last but not the least, going organic is not only good for us but for our planet as well. Organic farmers use traditional modes of agriculture such as, crop rotation, green manures and compost that preserves the soil quality and controls soil erosion. Prohibition on the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides prevents pollution of water bodies that would otherwise be contaminated by leaching.
Above all, the philosophy of organic farming is being in harmony with nature, protecting it in return for its bounty and basking in its glory. Please leave your comments and suggestions on the topic to improve our research.