Technological advances made early in the 20th century combined with food shortages experienced during World War Two, resulted in intensive farming techniques being widely integrated into North America. Intensive farming is not concerned with animal welfare, the environment, or the nutritional content of the food that is produced; it is based upon maximizing productivity and profits and minimizing costs. As a result of these farming practices, the food that is produced is often lower in nutrients and covered in toxic pesticide residue. In response to this, many environmentally concerned individuals and/or people who are in pursuit of good health are now turning to organic produce. In fact, organic farming is one of the fastest growing agricultural segments n the US and below are four benefits of choosing organic over conventionally farmed food products.
The Healthy Food Choice?
Benefit # 1: Organic Foods Are Pesticide and Herbicide Free
Perhaps the most obvious and most important benefit of organic foods is that they are grown naturally and are therefore pesticide and herbicide free. Pesticides have been linked to a wide range of diseases and health disorders. The continuous consumption of pesticide laden food results in a build-up of toxic pesticides inside the body and it has been directly linked to nerve damage, disrupted hormones and cancer, and pregnant women who consume these pesticides increase their chances of giving birth to infants with birth defects. Unfortunately, pesticides are invisible to the naked eye, and merely washing your produce is rarely enough to remove the pesticide residue, which is why your best option is to choose organically grown food.
Benefit # 2: Organic Animal Products Healthier…and More Humane
Most conventional meat is produced in factory farms, where the animals are cooped up in inhumane and unsanitary conditions and many of these animals never even get to see the light of day. These living conditions encourage sickness, and in order to prevent the animals from getting sick and to fatten them up quicker, the farmers often add tremendous amounts of antibiotics to the animals feed. The overuse of antibiotics in agriculture has resulted in antibiotic resistance problems in food. Furthermore, the antibiotics ultimately end up on your plate when you eat the meat of factory farmed animals, and the intake of antibiotics reduces your friendly gut flora, which are essential for good health. Finally, conventional meat and dairy products are laced with steroids and growth hormones, which also damage your gut flora and take away from your good health.
Benefit # 3: Organic Assures the “Functionality” of Functional Food
A functional food is any healthy food item that due to its nutritional content, serves a specific function when it comes to promoting good health. For instance, salmon and walnuts both fall into the functional food category because they contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to support cardio vascular health. Although many healthy food items, including most fruits and vegetables, fall into the functional food category, the use of pesticides and herbicides, genetic engineering and other factory farming techniques can transform these otherwise extremely healthy food items into a product that is lower in nutrients (some functional nutrients are lost altogether) and that can actually harm your health.
Benefit # 4: Organic is Better for the Environment
It would take more than a novel to cover all of the damage that intensive factory farming causes to the environment. In short, factory farming results in the following: damaged and less varied wildlife, less crop diversity, damaged and nutrient depleted soils, higher risk for famine during droughts, and polluted groundwater, not to mention the fact that it contributes to global warming.
Benefit # 5: It Tastes Better
As if all of the above benefits were not enough, organic food simply tastes better. According to one poll 71.5 percent of the population preferred the taste of organic fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy, over conventionally grown produce. Many studies have found that organic farming yields foods with great flavor intensity. The exact reason is unknown, however scientist speculate it is due to the increased antioxidants in organic foods as well as the lower crop yields which are grown in healthier soil.