A person might think they are eating well by consuming various fruits and vegetables and unprocessed whole foods. However, even these foods still come with some significant risks.
Like most industries, the food industry is primarily concerned with making money. If that sounds ridiculous, harsh or hard to believe, if you really think about it…it’s not. Tobacco and alcohol industries spend billions of dollars trying to lure people into using their products. They don’t seem too concerned that their products are helping to kill hundreds of thousands of people each year.
This standard set by the tobacco and alcohol industries makes it easy for the food industry to also prioritize profit in a way that significantly affects our health. However, unlike tobacco and alcohol, food is essential for health and survival. Contamination of this basic requirement for life has significant consequences that are far subtler than those resulting from alcohol and tobacco use.
Eating organic food is a major step in the right direction toward optimal health and brings back the emphasis on quality. Just like the food industry has the choice to put unhealthy food on the market, you have the choice to not put it on your plate. Here are a few reasons why you should make this choice and buy organic as often as possible.
Organic foods have no chemical toxins in them. Why does that matter, you may ask? Your cells are the foundation of your health. Chemical toxins cause them to malfunction and sometimes damage or kill them. They also cause your detoxification system, which consists of your liver, kidneys, lungs, colon, and skin, to work overtime and eventually malfunction as well. Conventionally grown crops are sprayed with significant amounts of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers. These chemicals are designed to kill other forms of life and you may very well be eating them. Don’t think you’re safe just because you rinse your food. While it does help, many of the chemicals are deeply absorbed and cannot be rinsed off.
Organic food is not genetically modified. Scientifically, the thought of genetically altering plants to grow faster, taste better, and be more resistant to disease sounds like an amazing breakthrough. It is indeed, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. By eating genetically engineered crops, we are introducing DNA into our bodies that we’ve never encountered during our millions of years of evolution. Many scientists are strongly opposed to genetically modified foods because there simply isn’t enough scientific proof that it’s safe. Also, many of the foods you buy in the supermarket are genetically modified or have genetically modified ingredients in them, especially soy products. Because food manufacturers are not required to tell you this, you have no way of knowing unless you buy certified organic products.
Yes, it is true, organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. Plus, new research verifies that some organic produce is often lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food.
Organic food also helps us eat with a sense of place. Whether it is local fruit and vegetables, imported coffee or artisan cheese, organic food can demonstrate respect for the land and its people. No matter what zip code, organic has proven to use less energy (on average, about 30 percent less), is beneficial to soil, water and local habitat, and is safer for the people who harvest our food. Eat more seasonably by supporting your local farmers market while also supporting a global organic economy year round. Your taste buds (and quite likely the farmers!) will thank you for it.
Organic food can be more expensive, but you can’t put a price tag on your health. Also, if you start buying less junk food, you will have more money to spend on high quality organic food. Even if you just start with a few products, like your fruits and vegetables, you will be making a positive difference in your health and the environment.