Is Organic Better

I have always found it interesting that the same family who is not eating organic, and therefore eating a lot of junk and processed food because they say they cannot afford healthier food... is the same family that later ends up spending eight-hundred a month for medicine. According to experts, the simplest way back toward health is to focus on foods grown or raised as nature intended.

It's not to late to change the way we eat. Let's focus on growing even more food using sustainable farming practices without the use of chemical additives, pesticides and fertilizers. It's common knowledge that food grown in healthier soil, with natural fertilizers and no chemicals is simply more nutritious.

Perhaps one of the best studies out there on the benefits of natural versus chemically grown foods is the 2007 Quality Low Input Food Project. The researchers raised cattle and also grew fruit and vegetables on adjacent natural and non-natural sites and discovered that natural fruit and vegetables contain up to 40 percent more antioxidants.

They also learned that foods grown natural produce higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc. And that milk from organic herds contained up to 90 percent more antioxidants. The results were so impressive they stated that eating healthier foods can even help to increase the nutrient intake of people who don't eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

In addition to simply being depleted of many essential nutrients... chemically grown food is also typically tainted with a multitude of chemical residues, including chemical fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. And yes, you can bet your bottom dollar that these chemical concoctions can cause a wide variety of health problems.

It's indeed a great idea to think of eating healthier because we are concerned about optimal health, and therefore we want to avoid as many agricultural chemicals as we can. However, there may be more to the lack of herbicides and pesticides when it comes to healthier grown foods. It's becoming more established that healthier grown foods have higher levels of many important nutrients... along with wider and more diverse set of nutrients than chemically grown foods.

I would like to add that what we call “health insurance” really is not about being healthy. It’s about being able to pay for doctors, hospitals, and patent medicines when we get sick. A more accurate term for this kind of insurance should be called “disease insurance.” Real health insurance is about "wellness" and includes a good diet, a positive mental attitude, sleep, exercise, and the avoidance of toxins.

The most commonly consumed toxins like pesticides, herbicides, and other agricultural food chemicals... along with artificial flavorings and preservatives are somehow regarded as too costly to avoid. The biggest psychological obstacle to not eating healthy and avoiding all of these health-robbing toxins is that it’s too expensive. It's not "disease insurance" but rather healthier grown food that will really help to insure that you and your family stay healthy.

Chemically grown crops grow physically bigger and faster as a result of the use of nitrogen-added fertilizer, which contains much more nitrogen than ever found in any “natural” fertilizer. Faster growing crops have less time to extract essential nutrients from the soil and move them up from the roots through the stalks and into the portions of the plant that are eaten. And this is one reason why healthier grown foods contain more bone-building minerals than chemically grown foods.

When you chemically protect plants with pesticides from the stress of insects, fungal invasions, and drought, the crops do not spend much energy on generating the vitamins and hundreds of health-promoting compounds plants can produce. Why? Because plants create energy in response to their needs for self-defense against those insects, fungi, and other natural stresses of growing. Less need for the plant to protect itself means less self-defense nutrients in the food.

There are studies that show healthier grown fruits, vegetables and grains to have higher levels of 8 of the 11 nutrients, including higher levels of antioxidants. Overall, healthier grown foods were found to be 25 percent more nutrient-rich than pesticide grown.

Neal Davies, a Washington State University professor noted “the nutrients in healthier grown foods are often in a more biologically active form,” which translates to more beneficial activity from the nutrient. In other words, the same amount of nutrient delivers more bang for the buck if consumed in a healthier grown food.

A review of 41 studies comparing organic to chemically grown foods found healthier grown foods contained 27 percent more vitamin C, 21 percent more iron, 29 percent more magnesium, and 14 percent more phosphorus.

A number of other current papers published in the peer-reviewed medical literature confirm that natural foods contain significantly higher levels of nutrients (especially bone-building vitamin C, polyphenols, flavonoids and minerals) and of course lower levels of pesticides.

A study comparing natural to chemically grown tomatoes found organic tomatoes contained 5 percent more vitamin K, 130 percent more calcium, and 65 percent more zinc than chemically grown tomatoes.

Another report looking at celery, showed natural celery contained 70 percent more vitamin K, 48 percent more zinc, and 118 percent more vitamin C than chemically grown celery.

And another report, analyzing the content of minerals and phenolic compounds in eggplant, found organic cultivation had such a positive effect on the accumulation of beneficial mineral and phenolic compounds that organically and chemically produced eggplants could easily be told apart by looking at their nutrient composition profiles.

One well-known study compared levels of testosterone in university graduate students in their twenties, and organic farmers in their forties, who had eaten nearly 100 percent organic foods for most of their adult lives. Guess what group had significantly higher testosterone levels? Yep you guessed it... the organic farmers, an average of 20 or more years older than the graduate students.

But back to the main point here. While it’s very important for optimal health to avoid as many herbicides, pesticides, and other agricultural chemicals, it’s also now well established that organically grown foods have not only higher levels of many important nutrients, but a wider, more diverse set of nutrients than chemically grown foods.

Now that’s real “health insurance”. When possible why not buy organic for you and your family?


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