By Lauren Gill from Corfe Hills School
Organic foods are farmed in a way that avoids the use of additives and man-made fertilisers. Conventional foods are grown the opposite way to organic foods and are; genetically modified organisms or grown with synthetic chemicals. With such a broad variety of foods to choose from and all the misleading terminology used on packaging, it can become very difficult to know what is beneficial and how to get the best out of your money.
Organic foods provide a variety of benefits according to a team led by Prof Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University. There are many different reasons to why someone may choose to start eating organic foods.
- Organic food doesn’t contain as many pesticides which conventional foods do. A pesticide is a substance used to destroy insects or organisms that could be harmful to animals or plants.
- Organic foods are fresher and therefore taste better. This could be because organic foods don’t contain preservatives, which make them keep for longer.
- Organic foods are better for the environment for so many different reasons; the most obvious one being that it reduces pollution.
- Organic food is GMO-free. In most countries, organic crops contain no GMO’s and organic meat comes from animals raised on organic, GMO-free farms.
- Can be richer in nutrients, (specifically in meat and dairy products) according to 2016 European study.
There are some points that may make you slightly reluctant to eat organically.
Despite the positive reflection of eating organically, is there enough evidence to know if it is beneficial? “There’s really very limited information in people on actual health outcomes with consumption of these products,” says David Klurfeld, PhD, chairman of the department of Nutrition and Food Science at Wayne State University in Detroit. “We don’t’ know enough to say that one is better than the other,”
Conventional food is everywhere in supermarkets since the high demand in convenient meals and easier ways of cooking. So before you decide whether organic food is worth the price, look at the issues.
- An obvious disadvantage would be that organic foods cost significantly more than non-organic food. This is because most farmers want to maximize their profits, by using chemicals to increase the size and quantity of their produce.
- Organic foods don’t last long since they don’t have any preservatives. Preservatives help the food to keep for longer and consequently save consumers money.
- There is a limited selection of organic produce available in some areas so even if someone may be able to buy organic foods financially, they might not be able to get hold of it.
Buying fruit and vegetables in season is cheaper and fresher. It is much better for you and is likely to be the most natural and organic produce available. Preferably change your brands of organic food regularly to prevent your body from being unable to fight off specific bacteria. Also remember, organic food doesn’t always mean the healthiest. Often company market their product as having organic ingredients none the less, they can still be very high in sugar, salt, fat, or calories. So watch out for baked goods, deserts, and snacks. It pays to read food labels.
You may decide that eating everything organic is unnecessary. According to the Environmental Working Group some fruits have higher pesticide levels than others; due to this, it is best to buy these 14 fruits and vegetables organic if any: apples, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, potatoes, grapes, cherry tomatoes, kale/collard greens, summer squash, nectarines, peaches, spinach, strawberries and hot peppers.
These fruits and vegetables were found to have the lowest level of pesticides. Most of these have thicker skin which naturally protects them from pests: asparagus, avocado, mushrooms, cabbage, sweet corn, eggplant, kiwi, mango, onion, papaya, pineapple, sweet peas (frozen), sweet potatoes, grapefruit and cantaloupe.
Overall, if buying all organic isn’t a priority, you might opt to buy organic specifically; selecting foods that are most heavily contaminated with pesticides and insecticide residues.