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In recent years there has been a huge growth in the organic food industry, and companies who specialize in these types of foods, such as Whole Foods, have seen huge boosts in revenue (According to this article, the organic industry has seen a 30% growth in the past 5-6 years). People go crazy over organic foods, and some people won’t touch food if it doesn’t have the magic organic label. I’ve seen the whole “organic debate” first hand in my family. My mom is a health-obsessed organic supporter, who strictly believes that organic is better, no matter what. My dad is more skeptical and believes that organic foods aren’t necessarily worth the extra cost. To say they’ve gotten into a few friendly arguments over this would be an understatement, so I was curious enough to take to the internet to find out if there was any actual benefits from eating organically. Here’s what I found:
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Organic Foods Have More Antioxidants
According to this article, a new international study has suggested that organic foods actually contain more antioxidants than non-organic foods. In fact, the study found that organic foods contained 18-69% more antioxidants, especially the antioxidant polyphenolic, which has been proven to help prevent disease. Not only do organic foods have more antioxidants, but according to another study, the antioxidants have more of an effect when consumed through an organic food. This might be due to the fact that there are less foreign chemicals in organic items (ie. pesticides), which could interfere with the intake of antioxidants.
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Organic Foods Have Less Pesticides
Speaking of pesticides, organic foods also have significantly less of these than non-organic foods. Pesticides are used on traditional crops to keep the bugs from eating all the fresh fruit and vegetables. However, pesticides contain strong chemicals such as organophosphorus which can be detrimental to your health. According to this article, unnatural compounds such as organophosphorus have been linked to certain developmental disorders, such as ADHD and Autism. Thus, staying away from these chemicals is probably a good idea.
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Organic Foods are Good For Your Heart
A hallmark of organic meats is that the animals are grass fed, rather than being fed corn and other substances that they wouldn’t eat normally. This increased intake of grass increases the amount of CLA, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid (a heart-healthy fatty acid), that can be found in the animal. Thus, consuming organic meats increases the amount of CLA in our systems, which has numerous health benefits, including boosting cardiovascular protection.
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Organic Foods Have Less Antibiotics
People around the world take antibiotics every day to help fight off bacteria that cause several different illnesses and diseases. However, non-organic food farmers also feed their animals antibiotics to prevent them from getting diseases. This means that when we ingest non-organic meats, we are also ingesting antibiotics. This causes a sort-of “antibiotic overdose”, which causes are immune system to have to readjust as if it is fighting off an illness. Furthermore, this causes us to become more resistant to antibiotics (because we are adjusting to them so often), which means that when you need to take them for an actual illness, they may not work as well. This is a big reason why many people switch to organic foods, because organic farmers do not use antibiotics in their processes.
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So what’s the consensus?
Organic foods do have health benefits as shown above, but they are considerably more expensive, which is why many people shy away from eating organically. My opinion is that if you can afford it, try eating organically, because odds are you will ingest a lot less toxic chemicals that could harm your health. However, for poor college students such as myself, there are ways to work with non-organic foods to reduce the intake of chemicals. Washing and scrubbing your fruits and vegetables for example, can help reduce the amount of pesticides you ingest. There are sure to be more studies on the benefits of organic eating, so let the debate continue!
To learn more about the health benefits of organic foods, check out this website.
To check out some yummy organic recipes, click here!
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