Over time we, as a global community, have become very conscious of and concerned about what is best for our health and how we can do our best to maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle. And with all the scrutiny now over the influence and effects of artificial and processed foods on our bodies, one really begins to wonder, is going organic really better for you? What does it mean, really, if something is labeled as being organic? Is it just a ploy for companies to use to charge more for their organic products? So lies the controversy over what organic food really does for our bodies and our health.
Well, what are organic foods, really? They are defined as foods that use less synthetic materials – like additives or processed chemical preservatives – in the production process of the food. For produce, organic fruits and vegetables are famed for not using chemicals or pesticides in the growth and harvesting processes. Although some chemicals and pesticides are allowed by governmental food agencies to be used in an organic food products, companies producing organic food are heavily regulated and made to receive particular certification to label themselves as organic food companies.
Initial reports came out at the onset of the organic food trend, claiming that there was little to no nutritional difference between consuming organic food and conventionally processed foods. However, reports these days have been conducted on much finer levels and have found that because there are limited amounts of synthetic and chemical products used in the production of organic food, the ratio of healthy components in organic food is typically higher than comparative non-organic foods.
Organic fruits and vegetables usually contain higher levels of trace minerals, Vitamin C, and antioxidants than their non-organic counterparts. Mineral and nutrient levels in non-organic produce has greatly declined in the past few decades, as farmers and produce companies have found ways to manufacture their produce to last longer and ripen quicker. Conventional, non-organic produce is first fertilized with artificial fertilizer, which swells the produce with water. Because organic produce is not fertilized with the same types of artificial fertilizers they are proportionally greater in nutrient value; they are comprised of more dry material than water, and therefore filled with, compared to the heavy and watered down non-organic produce, more nutrients and minerals. In turn, this allows you to get the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals in your body while consuming comparatively less of the organic produce than you would have to consume of the non-organic produce.
Additionally, because organic plants have to rely on themselves to ward off attacks from insects and disease, they build up their own immune systems by producing more phytonutrients and antioxidants. Consequently, because non-organic plants are doused with pesticides and chemicals, their immune systems don’t have to produce as much of the phytonutrients to protect themselves. Thus, organic produce typically provides our bodies with more antioxidants which help our bodies stay stronger and ward off free radicals, than would the conventional non-organic fruit or vegetable.