Organic food has become popular in most households. However, navigating through the many claims of organic food benefits and claims can be confusing. In addition, adhering to organic diets is difficult. Organic foods are highly nutritious and improve overall health. This is why organic diets are highly recommended. This article highlights what organic food is and whether you need it, as well as some easy diets to follow while eating organic.
What Is Organic Food?
The term “organic” refers to the manner in which agricultural products are grown and processed. Even though the regulations vary from nation to nation, organic crops in the US must be grown without the use of petroleum-based fertilizers, bio-engineered genes, synthetic pesticides, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. In addition, organic livestock raised for dairy products, meat, and eggs should have access to the outdoors and organic feed. Organic livestock is not given growth hormones, antibiotics, or any animal by-products.
Organic food differs from conventionally grown or non-organic produce. For instance, while organic produce entails the use of natural fertilizers, such as compost or manure, non-organic produce is grown with chemical or synthetic fertilizers. In organic produce, weeds are controlled naturally using tilling, mulching, hand weeding, and crop rotation while in non-organic produce, weeds are controlled using chemical herbicides.
In non-organic produce, pests are controlled using synthetic pesticides while in organic produce pests are controlled using natural methods, including insects, birds, traps, and naturally derived pesticides.
Organic Eggs, Dairy, and Meat
Organic eggs, dairy, and meat are produced differently from conventional means. Organically raised livestock are given all organic, GMO- and hormone-free feed. Conventionally raised livestock are typically given growth hormone and non-organic, GMO feed. Conventionally raised livestock are given medications and antibiotics to prevent diseases, unlike organically raised livestock where diseases are prevented using natural methods, such as rotational grazing, clean housing, and a healthy diet. Last, organically raised livestock should have access to the outdoors, unlike conventionally raised livestock.
Do I Need Organic Food?
How your food is raised or grown is correlated to your emotional and mental health as well as the prosperity of our environment. Organic foods are typically more beneficial in terms of nutrients. They have more antioxidants compared to conventionally grown food. Organic food is beneficial for people with allergies to preservatives, foods, or chemicals. Sensitivity symptoms often lessen or go away when consuming organic food.
The following are good reasons to eat organic foods:
Organic food is raised or grown naturally and does most contain herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides used in conventional agriculture. If any pesticides are used, they are primarily natural, unlike the synthetic pesticides used in conventional farming. Natural pesticides are less toxic.
Better for the Environment
Organic agriculture reduces pollution, soil erosion, and conserves water. Besides, it improves soil fertility and uses less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better to nearby animals, birds, and people living close to farms. Conventional foods will pollute the environment with the pesticides or herbicides used, which makes this an unsustainable farming method.
Organic Food Is GMO-Free
GMOs are plants whose DNA has been altered in unnatural ways that cannot occur in traditional cross-breeding or in nature. The alteration makes the plants resistant to pesticides or herbicides or causes them to produce an insecticide. For instance, much of sweet corn consumed in the US is genetically altered to be resistant to Roundup herbicide and to produce its own insecticide, known as BT Toxin.
GMOs are common in US crops, including alfalfa, soybeans, papaya, canola, zucchini, and squash. They are also found in many breakfast cereals and most of the processed food the average person eats. If you see the ingredients soy lecithin or corn syrup on food packaging, there is a high chance that it contains GMOs. This is why it's best to go for organic food.
Organic Milk and Meat Are Richer in Nutrients
Studies have established that the level of certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, are 50% higher in organic milk and meat than in conventional ones. Organic foods also contain antioxidants, which are better at improving overall health and improving the immune system. Conventional foods have fewer nutrients, which is why it's better to choose organic food.
Organically Raised Animals Are Healthier
Organically raised animals are not given growth hormones, antibiotics, or animal byproducts. Feeding livestock with by-products increases their risk of developing mad cow disease (BSE), and using antibiotics creates antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. However, if the animals are raised organically, they are given more space to move around, which improves their overall health.
Organic Food Is Fresher
Since organic food does not contain preservatives that make it last longer, it is always fresh. Organic food is typically harvested when ripe and is, therefore, fresher compared to conventional foods. Essentially, organic food is usually produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.
Organic Food Helps Mitigate Health Risks
It is likely that you have accumulated a build-up of pesticide exposure due to many years of exposure from eating conventional foods. This could lead to health issues, such as birth defects, headaches, and added strain to your immune system. Some studies have shown that the use of pesticides, especially in conventional farming and even at low doses, increases the risks of developing certain cancers, like lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer, brain tumors, and prostate cancer.
Easy Diets to Follow While Eating Organic
If you want to stick with a new way of eating, you should know some easy diets to follow. This helps you to maintain the cycle of eating organic foods while keeping conventional foods at bay. The following are easy diets to follow while eating organic.
This is one of the best easy diets to follow. The diet gives emphasis to vegetables, fruits, fish, and olive oil. The diet offers a host of health benefits, which include heart and brain health, weight loss, diabetes prevention and control, and cancer prevention. The Mediterranean pyramid should get you started. It emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, legumes, herbs and spices, and fish several times a week. You can top it all off with a splash of red wine. This is a great diet for weight loss and staying healthy.
The Flexitarian Diet
This is another great option for easy diets to follow that promotes eating organic. This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and plant-based proteins. It comes from two words: flexible and vegetarian. This diet is best for losing weight, being healthier, preventing diseases, and probably adding a few years to your life. Eating more plants and less meat helps you improve overall health, lose weight, lower your rate of heart disease, and reduce the risk of developing cancer and diabetes. Plant proteins include beans and peas.
Weight Watchers Diet
This is another of the easy diets to follow that goes well with organic foods. It is best for fast weight loss, and experts say it is a smart and effective diet. You have over 200 foods to choose from including corn, eggs, seafood, turkey breast or skinless chicken, beans, peas, non-fat plain yogurt, tofu, and lentils. These foods are vital in laying a foundation for a healthier pattern of eating. Besides, you will not go hungry as it includes three meals daily.
This is one of our favorite easy diets to follow because of the dietary approach to stop hypertension. It is promoted by the Lung, National Herat, and Blood Institute. The Dash diet helps fight high blood pressure and is known for its nutritional completeness, safety, and ability to prevent and control diabetes. It emphasizes foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, which have high nutrients known for deflating blood pressure, like potassium, protein, calcium, and fiber.
The last of the easy diets to follow is the MIND diet. It helps prevent mental decline and, overall, is a healthy and sensible plan that's backed by science. It combines two proven diets, the Mediterranean and the DASH, and settles on foods in each that positively affect brain health, which lowers your risk of mental decline. It can also prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The organic food staples include nuts, berries, and leafy greens. These are important in halting the risk of progressive brain disorder.
You should try some of these easy diets to follow that are mainly organic for better health. Organic foods are more beneficial in terms of nutrients as they possess more antioxidants compared to conventionally grown food. For those with allergies to preservatives, foods, or chemicals, we recommend switching to organic food. Organic foods have fewer pesticides, are better for the environment, and can mitigate health risks. They are also GMO-free, richer in nutrients, and fresher.
Some easy diets to follow that promote organic foods include Mediterranean diet, the flexitarian diet, the Weight Watchers diet, the DASH diet, and the MIND diet. We hope that this article has helped you understand organic food, whether you need it, and easy diets to follow while eating organic.