Is Organic Food Better?: Finding Nutrient-Dense Foods

Is Organic Food Better?: Finding Nutrient-Dense Foods

Fruits

For the last few years, organic foods have become a popular choice, most especially for people who are looking to have a healthier lifestyle. But the question remains: is organic food worth it?

Certain foods are called organic due to the way they are grown and processed. In the US, crops must be grown without using petroleum-based fertilizers, sewage sludge-based fertilizers, genetically motified organisms (GMOs), and synthetic pesticides to be considered organic. They must also be free of artificial food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, or artificial sweeteners.

Is organic food better than all the other foods we usually consume? Let’s find out.

Are Organic Foods Healthier?

According to the Pew Research Center, 55% of U.S. adults believe that organic fruits and vegetables provide better health benefits compared to conventionally grown produce.

But are organic foods healthier? Some claim that you get the same benefits from eating both organic and non-organic foods. However, there have also been many studies conducted, which point to the fact that organic foods have much greater benefits.

For example, a recent study titled Organic Diet Intervention Significantly Reduces Urinary Glyphosate Levels in U.S. Children and Adults was published in the journal Environmental Research, shows that on an organic diet, the levels of glyphosate, or toxic pesticide, in test subjects’ urine dropped on average 70%. Glyphosate is a common ingredient of Roundup and other weed and pest killers, which leach into soil and crops and are then consumed.

Likewise, researchers from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry also found that organic onions have 20% higher antioxidant content than those that are conventionally grown. Antioxidants play an essential role in our bodies, as they combat free radicals which trigger cancer, heart diseases, and other illnesses. 

For now, the question of whether organic food is better in terms of health benefits is still debatable. Continuous studies are being performed to examine the macro- and micro-nutrient content of organic and non-organic foods. Currently, conventional study results show that both foods contain just the same amount of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. Overall, one must be aware of how the studies are conducted and funded to fully understand if they are indeed representative of unbiased investigation or whether they have any ties to special interests that sponsor them. 

Do Organic Foods Have Pesticides?

Green and red vegetables

Although organic foods are known to be pesticide-free, some states allow farmers to use different chemical sprays and powders on their crops that are considered organic. So does organic food have pesticides? Yes, organic farming does use some pesticides. However, the use and the amount of pesticide depends on the farm and there are many organic farms that are completely pesticide-free. 

There are plenty of fertilizers and pesticides that are authorized by organic farming regulations in the US. Pesticides, including sodium chloride, magnesium sulfate, calcium polysulfide, aluminum-calcium phosphate, and others are usually allowed to be used. Regulations and standards for organic labeling are set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which affirms that all organic operations should demonstrate protection of natural resources and biodiversity and only use approved crops, livestock and processing material.

Where to Buy Organic Food?

Since the organic food industry is booming, it’s not that difficult to get your supply from a number of venues. So, where can you buy organic food? Trader Joe’s, for example, has 400 locations all over the US and offers great deals on many organic fruits, vegetables, vegan products, frozen goods, and even coffee.

Another go-to store for your organic food finds is Aldi. They may not have an extensive selection, but at least they offer organic foods at a lower cost. Likewise, Walmart is catching up with the organic movement and now stocks 1,600 organic grocery items at very affordable prices. And of course, Whole Foods can meet many of your organic food needs without much search and effort!

Do you know that there are restaurants all over the globe that employ organic food in their cuisines? Eleven One Kitchen in Cambodia, for example, only uses the freshest organic produce in their kitchen. Alchemy in Bali serves organic salads and desserts. Meanwhile, Ecru in Rome not only provides its customers with organic offerings but also includes gluten-free options.

In the US, you can dig into various organic food recipes in different states. For example, the first certified organic restaurant in the US, Restaurant Nora, has an extensive menu of food options for all palettes, while almost every major city offers a few organic and vegan dining options to satisfy the health conscious. You just have to do a bit more research to find those coveted spots! 

Why Does Organic Food Cost More?

Vegetables

According to a study performed by Consumer Reports, organic foods are 47% more expensive than conventional foods. This includes organic grains, produce, and even snacks. There are several reasons why organic food costs more.

For one, it takes time for organic food to grow. Since these crops do not use the usual chemicals and growth hormones applied in conventional farming, fast supply becomes limited. In addition, there’s a demand to hire more workers to grow organic foods to meet this quantity concern. The fertilizers used by organic farmers are also a contributor to the cost, because they are more expensive to make and ship. Likewise, the price of organic food goes up because it is often shipped from abroad. 

Can Vegans Eat Non-Organic Foods?

People go vegan mainly because of animal rights, human health, and the environment. Organic farming uses fertilizers, such as animal manure, bone meal, or blood meal. Because of this, some vegans believe that buying commercial organic products that use these methods will encourage profitability of the animal agriculture industry, which is contrary to what they support.

So can vegans eat nonorganic food? It’s up to you. Some vegan practitioners boycott organic food because of the farming process. Others still choose to enjoy the nutritional benefits organic foods provide by buying from small farms that do not use animal byproducts in their growth process and production. 

Is organic food better? The topic is still open to discussion. So far, both organic and conventional foods contain all the nutrients we need. But organic foods provide us with a peace of mind that the  farming process used and met the demand for fewer chemicals, synthesizers and pesticides. At least, this assures us that organic foods are much safer to consume.

Visit the Vegan Health Pack today to learn more about the organic diet, what it takes to be a vegan and much, much more!

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