Monday, January 11, 2010

Five Reasons That Organic Food Is Better for You

Eat organic - it’s better for the environment, right? Is that really why you should eat organic food? Well, that’s one good reason, but it’s not the only one. While reducing the use of pesticides is beneficial for our soil, water and air, organic food is also better for your body. Why?

1. Organic food has fewer chemical residues than food produced using conventional agriculture. While some conventional crops use few pesticides, others like apples have many more. While the pesticide levels on conventionally-produced foods many not be enough to make you ill immediately, consider the potential long-term health impacts of eating small amounts of many different pesticides every day. If you eat meat and dairy products, the hormones and pesticides in these products can be even more concentrated.

2. Children and breastfeeding mothers in particular need to eat food that is pesticide-free, since children have a much smaller body mass and less ability to process toxins. A combination of household and ingested chemicals can lead to decreases in cognitive and physical abilities, according to a landmark study done by Elizabeth Gillette. In this study, published in 1998, she discovered that children in two Mexican villages had very different cognitive and physical characteristics, and the major difference between the villages was the use of pesticides.

3. Organic farming methods like the use of mulch and manure create rich humus and an abundance of soil life. Rich soil supports a healthy population of micro-organisms, and these micro-organisms make soil nutrients available to plants. We eat the plants, and we get the nutrients.

4. Organic food has more nutrients. The research is controversial, but overall, the research does seem to indicate that organic products have higher levels of vitamin C, trace minerals, and antioxidants. If you’re eating vegetables and fruit for the health benefits, why not choose those that are packed with nutrients?

5. Those who rely on surface or well water to drink know the importance of maintaining healthy watersheds and groundwater supplies. Organic farming reduces the amount of pesticides that move into our water supply.

I love my fruits and vegetables, but I love them more when I know that they are keeping my body as healthy as it can be. Choosing organic food makes me feel good about what I am eating, and I hope that it will increase my family’s overall feelings of health and reduce their chances of chronic illnesses caused by exposure to many small doses of pesticides.

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