Organic food has expanded in popularity in the past two decades. Increased number of consumers has boosted organic food sales and thus the production to meet the demands. Compared to Inorganic food, it is concluded as healthier and safer to consume.
The term organic refers to produce being grown in a certain way. They are harvested without the use of chemicals or hormones that work on modifying an organism genetically. In this case crops and cattle. The conventionally grown produce world wide requires use of artificial chemicals, growth promoting hormones and antibiotics. This in exchange gives farmers better yield and the produce is more resistant to diseases.
Use of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers increases crop production. Hormones are given to cattle to promote growth and improve protein deposition. On the other hand organic meat or organic crops that are harvested, use natural fertilizers. Manure is used to improve plant growth. Animals are not given any additional hormones or antibiotics. Such measures ensure chemical free produce.
Organic Food Rich In Antioxidants
It is assumed that organic food is healthier than the inorganic one. The reason being, that since the natural growth process of the produce is not altered, the nutrient level will be high. But globally conducted studies have shown mixed results.
Since organically grown fruits and vegetables do not rely on chemical pesticides for protection, they produce more antioxidants. These antioxidants act as their protective compound and hence the higher content. One study reported that consuming organic versions instead of regular fruits and vegetables and cereals, provides extra antioxidants.
Organic Food May Contain Low Nitrate Levels
Speaking of chemicals and nutrients, comparatively organic food contains less nitrates. The conventionally produced crops have an increased content due to the synthetic fertilizers. Consuming higher levels of nitrate may be harmful especially for babies. But they may also have benefits. Like the nitrates which turn into nitrites, can either further turn into nitric oxide or nitrosamines. Nitric Oxide is beneficial for the body whereas nitrosamines are harmful.
A lot of processed food producers often use nitrates and nitrites. These are added to prevent growth of bacteria and improve the meat’s appearance. Again, a high intake of processed meat increases risks of cancer of the digestive tract, which is usually blamed to the high nitrate content. However the nitrates found in the vegetables naturally, reduce risk for some cancers and diseases. The bottom line is that these compounds occur naturally in the body or some food. In order to control excess consumption you should check food labels before buying processed meat.
An alternative option could be home cooks making their own frozen food which excludes use of nitrates. As this additive helps in preservation, home cooked specials do not add these to their frozen food. The buyer is aware that since its home made the food has to be consumed as soon as possible. Giving you preservative free, hygienic, home cooked food. A few options available in Karachi are Secret Spices, Food BoothandAsma & Samad’s Eatery
Organic Dairy And Meat May Contain Favorable Fatty Acids
Organic milk and different dairy products are known to contain high levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, iron, Vitamin E and some Carotenoids. This being said, they also contain lower levels of Selenium and Iodine. These two minerals are essential for health and if your diet strictly consists of organic dairy products then you may consider foods rich in Selenium and Iodine. On the other hand a higher intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acids results in reduced heart disease risks and other health benefits.
Organic Foods Have reduced Exposure To Chemicals
People believe that consuming organic food lowers risk of consuming artificial chemicals. Since organically grown food is exempted from pesticides and antibiotics, they are safe. But studies have shown that conventionally grown food has been tested and has shown very low levels of pesticide residues. Specific levels are set for chemicals to be present on a produce. And places where it is monitored, it has hardly been beyond safety limits. Proper washing, peeling and cooking of inorganic produce does reduce the residual content. Similarly, organic meat contain lower levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Organic food may contain more antioxidants and less nitrates than regular food. They might be rich in natural nutrients than conventionally grown food but research results are mixed.
Switching to an organic food diet you may reduce your exposure to artificial chemicals, hormones and antibiotics. Which means they cost more but spoil easily.
Organic junk food is still junk food with the same health hazards. For example even if your organic cookies contain organic sugar, you are still consuming sugar.
Hence deciding your food depends on your lifestyle, your routine, your metabolism and above all your health.