Are organic foods healthier? Yes, they are! Organic foods have higher antioxidant content which helps protect cells from damage. Animal studies also show that organic diets benefit growth, reproduction, and the immune system. Here are some of the reasons why. So, should you buy organic foods? Read on to find out! But why do we need organic foods? How can we tell if they are better for us? And what are the benefits? Let’s take a look!
Less pesticide residue
The consumption of more organic food is associated with lower exposure to pesticides, a recent study has shown. However, the study does not prove that organic food is healthier. The lower pesticide residues found in conventional foods have been known for quite some time, and this new research shows that the number of residues found in organic food is significantly lower than in conventional foods. Approximately 40 out of 900 pesticides are used in farming today.
The presence of unapproved residues in organic foods is not unprecedented. Large surveys have revealed that at least 40 percent of organic samples contained unapproved pesticides. The usual explanation is drift from neighboring farms or contamination of harvesting bins. Although many detections were low, some were higher than in conventionally grown foods. This may indicate contaminated irrigation water or compost. However, the fact remains that eating organic food means eating less pesticides and chemicals.
In addition to higher levels of vitamins, organic foods also have higher concentrations of antioxidants. A recent study from the University of California Davis revealed that tomatoes grown organically had more antioxidants than those produced from conventionally-raised plants. These compounds may help protect the body against diseases and promote healthy cell function. Conventionally-raised plants do not contain as much of these substances, as they are often treated with pesticides and other chemicals.
In addition to being fresher, organic foods also contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals. Because they are grown using sustainable soil practices, they tend to taste better. For example, a single organic apple contains 21 percent more vitamin C and 21% more iron than a comparable non-organic one. Another organic fruit has a higher content of antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids than its non-organic counterpart. This is due to the better quality of the soil and the care given to the plants.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified cadmium as a probable human carcinogen, and studies have linked higher levels to prostate, lung, pancreatic, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancers in men. Despite these findings, researchers still believe that less cadmium can be found in organically grown foods. Conventional farming practices tend to use phosphate-based fertilizers, which can add cadmium to the soil. The amount of cadmium in organic produce may depend on the acidity of the soil and the amount of nutrients present in the crops.
Although cadmium is not present in all organic foods, it is common in conventionally grown grains, mainly due to pollution. Several studies have shown that cadmium levels in food are less than 0.5 ppm. It is particularly low in the Southeast than in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions. Therefore, mitigation strategies must be based on soil characteristics, crop genetics, and agricultural management practices. Increasing cadmium concentrations in organic crops will not significantly reduce the level of cadmium in organic foods.
In a study conducted at the University of Missouri, researchers found that organic oranges deliver 30 percent more vitamin C than their conventionally grown counterparts. In another, certified nutritionist Virginia Worthington found that organic vegetables provided almost half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. They also had a higher iron content and were higher in magnesium, phosphorus, and polyphenols, a type of plant-based antioxidant. Ultimately, this makes organic foods a healthier choice for many people.
While red meat and seafood are the best food sources of iron, plant-based foods also provide ample amounts of the mineral. Because organic produce contains more heme iron, vegetarians do not need to worry about obtaining sufficient iron levels. One serving of spinach has nearly one-tenth of the iron content of a single egg, and nine servings of organic vegetables have nearly double the amount of the recommended daily iron intake. Organic foods also have higher levels of vitamin C, zinc, and manganese.
If you want to eat a diet with lower phosphorus, try focusing on plant-based foods. Many meats contain additives and injections, and your meat counter employee probably has no idea what has been added. Many frozen fish also contain added phosphates as a preservative. Although you should avoid these foods, you can still enjoy them! Here are some examples of foods with lower phosphorus:
If you are trying to avoid high amounts of phosphorus, consider limiting your intake to fruits and vegetables. These naturally low-phosphorus foods contain less than processed food. If you’re not sure if a food contains this mineral, you can check the ingredient label online or ask your dietitian. To find foods with low phosphorus content, read the label closely. Look for “phos” on the ingredients list.