Over the years, the need for organic food has surged, and now more than ever, people want to eat more organic food as they believe that It has more health benefits.
Are organic foods worth the hype? All these talks about how healthier or more tasty they are, is it really true? What is the difference between organic and inorganic food?
These are the questions about organic food that will be answered in this article.
According to Wikipedia, organic foods are basically foods that are grown through organic farming(I.e this food produce follows the standards of organic farming hence the name “organic food”).
Organic farming is of great help to the environment as it protects the ground from artificial fertilizers, in organic farming the use of artificial additives (fertilizers, sweeteners is not allowed). It helps to improve the quality of the soil and facilitates other processes that help to boosts the productivity level of the soil.
The word “organic” simply refers to the process in which a crop is produced, hence when we eat “organic food” we are simply talking about a food that was in an organic way.
There are certain regulations that govern the production of particular agricultural produce, these produce varies in different countries.
What is organic food?
Organic food is agricultural produce cultivated without the use of any artificial substance such as fertilizers, sweeteners, or preservatives.
It is completely grown and managed with the use of natural substances such as manure (to improve its growth). For a product to be regarded as organic it must be completely free of any artificial additive.
Organic food can be found in the farmer’s market or grocery store, technology has also influenced organic farming as there are processed organic foods available in the grocery store.
The major examples of agricultural produce cultivated through organic farming include; grains, dairy products, vegetables, and fruits.
How healthy is organic food?
One major belief of so many people that eat organic food is the fact that organic foods are more healthy than inorganic food. Organic foods are naturally cultivated without the use of any artificial chemical hence people believe that it is more healthy than inorganic food.
Is this really true? Is organic more healthy?
Studies have shown that this claim is not completely true as organic is not more healthy than inorganic, although organic food has some added benefits like an increased level of antioxidants however this doesn’t mean that it is more healthy.
The study further explained that the nutrients contained in both organic or inorganic food are the same therefore you are getting the same benefits.
Another study stated that organic food does have a lesser amount of pesticides and other artificial additives however this doesn’t affect the nutritional content of inorganic food as the level of pesticides it contains is still safe enough for consumption.
Benefits of organic food
Organic food has some benefits associated with it due to a large number of antioxidants which is quite higher than the amount found present in non-organic food.
Most preservatives or additional additives present in organic food are responsible for allergies that a lot of people suffer from. Organic food will be very useful and effective for people who suffer from allergies as most artificial chemicals could be responsible for certain allergic reaction.
Organic food contains fewer pesticides:
Non-organic foods are controlled or protected from the effects of pest through the use of herbicides, insecticides and pesticides.
When these agricultural produce are harvested some amount of artificial chemicals are still present in/on them.
On the other hand, organic food are not provided with any additional artificial chemical hence they learn to adapt by producing their own defence mechanisms (antioxidant).
Hence the amount of pesticides present in organic food is relatively low.
Organic food might be fresher:
Organic food does not contain preservatives hence they tend to be more fresher than other conventional food produce. Unprocessed organic foods are mostly found in farmer’s market however this doesn’t make them more nutritious than inorganic food.
Organic farming is beneficial to the environment:
Studies have shown that organic farming helps to improve the quality of the soil. Organic farming does not include the addition of artificial chemicals hence the soil is protected from any environmental damages. It helps to improve the water content of the soil, prevent erosion, reduces pollution and also increases the fertility of the soil.
Organic food may contain more nutrients :
There is a general believe that organic foods are more nutritious than inorganic however these claims are controversial, there are some studies in support and against this claim.
Further studies need to be conducted in order to support or completely disapprove this claim.
Organic foods are rich in antioxidants:
Organic foods are rich in antioxidants, they possess a higher level of antioxidants than inorganic food.
Inorganic foods are preserved or protected from pests through the use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. However, this is not the same as organic food.
For a food to be regarded as organic it must be free from any artificial additives like preservatives, herbicides or insecticides.
Due to the lack of artificial additives, organic food adapts in order to protect themselves from the effects of pests. They produce a protective mechanism that serves as their defense mechanism.
This protective substance is known as antioxidant.
Lower nitrate level:
Organic food contains lower quantity of nitrate than inorganic food. Nitrate has a lot of harmful effects on the overall health of the body.
An increased level of nitrate has been linked to the risk of certain chronic diseases including cancer and methemoglobinemia.
According to Healthline, methemoglobinemia is a disease in infants caused by the inability of the body to transport oxygen. The percentage of nitrate present in organic food is lower than the level present in inorganic food.
As a result of this level of nitrate present in organic and inorganic foods, most people believe that organic foods are more healthy.
Differences between organic and inorganic food
The process of growing organic food is quite different from the growth of conventionally grown food. These differences play a major role in the production, distribution, processing and sales.
Organic foods are not grown with the use of artificial additives. They use only natural fertilizers like manure and compost
Inorganic foods are grown with the use of artificial additives I.e chemicals such as preservatives, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides.
Manual work is highly required as weeds are controlled with human effort such as weeding, crop rotation, tilling.
Weed control is much easier than inorganic farming as weeds can be easily controlled with the use of chemical herbicides.
In organic farming, pests are controlled with natural means such as birds, traps, or insects. Recently there are naturally made pesticides that have been approved.
Through the use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, pests are easily controlled in inorganic farming.
Organic food receives no form of antibiotics (as antibiotics are artificial chemicals). Diseases are protected with the use of natural method.
Inorganic foods are given antibiotics to protect them from the risks of diseases. Other forms of approved medication are also administered to the crops in order to protect them.
Organic food tends to be much more expensive than the other conventionally grown crops.
Inorganic foods are less expensive, they are also more available for purchase.
Due to the lack of artificial chemicals present in organic, they tend to be cause less allergies.
Most chemicals contained in inorganic food play a very active role in most allergic reactions faced by a lot of people.
Organic farming also involves the rearing of livestock. Organic livestock are fed with food free of genetically modified organisms(GMO) and organic hormones.
Livestock reared conventionally are fed with hormones in order to boost their growth. Their food also contains GMO.
In organic livestock farming, the animals are allowed to move around (outside).
Livestock may be restricted and not allowed to move freely. Their movement may be limited to confinement in a particular place.
Why organic foods are expensive?
Most people wonder why organic foods are quite expensive since they do not require much synthetic chemicals which may require money to purchase. Therefore why must they be expensive to purchase?
The whole process of organic farming is stressed-filled from the planting, monitoring and harvesting. It is a crucial and critical process that requires immense attention.
Organic food requires meticulous and critical monitoring, the process is difficult and stressful to maintain.
It requires a lot of human efforts to fully manage the processes that are involved in organic farming. Weeds are controlled by hand wedding, tilling and other processes that consume time and strength.
Organic farming is a very stressful and time-consuming type of farming especially in this technological era when almost every process is automated.
The labour it takes to successfully run an organic is very expensive.
For example, two farmers are growing the same crop but using different methods, If the first farmer uses organic farming he needs to employ human labour that will handle most of the processes that occur in the farm.
The second farmer who uses inorganic farming needs lesser human labour though he also needs to spend money on synthetic chemicals.
The first farmer needs to spend a lot of money on human labour, he must ensure that the labour he employs must be a highly skilled in order to prevent any mistake that can ultimately lead to the destruction of the crops.
The whole process of organic farming can be really tedious, tasking and difficult hence it is reflected in the prices of the organic produce.
Organics are not more healthy than inorganic food, although they contain more antioxidants, however, they still contain the same nutrients therefore they both offer lots of healthy benefits.
If you decide to switch your diet to organic food it is important you make research on organic food (where you can purchase it, preservation method, storage method).
NOTE: organic food though fresher will also spoil faster.
The choice to stick with inorganic or organic food is strictly based on the individual’s decision. More studies need to be conducted to fully prove that organic foods are much more healthier than inorganic food.