Is Organic Better

A medical doctor once told me he always found it interesting that the same family who is not eating organic, and therefore eating a lot of cheap junk and processed food because they said they could not afford healthier food was the same family that later ended up spending eight-hundred a month for medicine and medical supplies. The experts do agree that the simplest way back toward health is to focus on food grown or raised as nature intended.

Since it's not to late to change the way we eat is why we should 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 food 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 food 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 that they stated eating healthier food can even help to increase the nutrient intake of people who don't eat the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Chemically grown food is also typically tainted with a multitude of chemical residues, including chemical fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides in addition to simply being depleted of many essential nutrients. 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 food. It's becoming more established that healthier grown food have higher levels of many important nutrients along with wider and more diverse set of nutrients than chemically grown food. I would like to add that what we call “health insurance” is really 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 eat 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 food contain more bone-building minerals than chemically grown food. The crops do not spend much energy on generating the vitamins and hundreds of health-promoting compounds plants can produce when we chemically protect the plant with pesticides from the stress of insects, fungal invasions and drought.

Plants create energy in response to their needs for self-defense against insects, fungi, and other natural stresses of growing, and therefore 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” and that 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 food found healthier grown food 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 food 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 recognized 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 food for most of their adult lives. Guess what group had significantly higher testosterone levels? Yep you guessed it was the organic farmers who were an average of 20 or more years older than the graduate students.

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


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