The start of a new year brings the inevitable New Year’s resolution and for many people that means an enforced ultimatum: this is the year I will lose weight and/or get healthy. Unfortunately, this kind of mandatory sentence rarely lasts beyond the month of January. But eating organic food? Well, we’ve got 9 amazing benefits of organic food that make it a solid resolution for body, mind and planet.
What is organic food?
Organics are foods that are grown, prepared and processed without pesticides, chemical preservatives or chemical fertilizers. Many health proponents believe that these differences make foods more healthy than conventionally grown foods. There is a lack of solid research on all the ways that conventional and organic ingredients differ. But there is enough research to show that there are definite benefits to choosing organics. That’s why we’re highlighting the proven reasons why organic food is better.
Why you should eat organic
One of the most powerful ways we can take control of our life and the future of our environment is to consciously choose what kind of food we will put in our bodies. Eating organically grown foods is certainly one way in which we can contribute to our own health and at the same time support an eco-friendly approach to living in our modern world. Buying organic meat, vegetables, etc. can seem like a simple idea that may or may not be worth the extra expense or effort.
But when you look at the impact it can have on your sexual health and overall health as well as the potential to support a healthier planet, I think you’ll agree that choosing organics is one of the easiest steps toward better health and well-being. So I asked organic foods authority Chef Ivy Haaks to help me come up with a list of the most remarkable ways organic foods can improve our lives.
9 amazing benefits of organic food
You might be surprised to learn that there is a world of difference between choosing to buy foods grown organically and conventionally grown ones.
Free of pesticides linked with chronic health problems
The most important organic benefits have to do with the obvious fact that conventionally grown foods contain pesticides. Choosing organics is quite simply a way to provide yourself with foods that are free from chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
Although most of us can’t feel the effects of these chemical treatments when eating one apple or bowl of cereal, over time the chemicals can accumulate in the body. The ingestion of food with pesticides is linked with chronic issues including cardiovascular disease, dementia, issues with the male reproductive system and neurological issues in fetuses and children.
Because organic produce is grown without toxic chemicals, if you buy organic vegetables and fruits from now on, you can stop a lot of this potential buildup in your body.
Have more nutrients
There is usually a price premium on organic foods but one interesting thing to remember when you are at the supermarket is that organic fruits and vegetables are proven by the US Soil Association to be significantly higher in their vitamin and mineral content than is found in conventional ingredients.
One of the most significant nutritional benefits of organics is that they have considerably higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants than is found in their conventionally-grown counterparts.
May increase fertility
Because organic foods are higher in nutrients than conventional foods and free of hormone-disrupting chemicals found in pesticides, they are linked with better chances of getting pregnant. According to FertilityCenter.com, women eating an organic diet may have as much as a 26% higher chance of a healthy birth than women with high pesticide intake.
May aid in weight loss
Some health experts say that choosing organic foods can even support weight loss goals better than conventionally grown foods. There are two reasons: Because organic produce has greater nutrition but organic fruits and vegetables tend to be smaller than the same ingredients grown conventionally, it takes fewer calories to get the nutritional benefits of organic produce. In addition, according to an organic foods impact study published in February 2022, there is a modestly reduced risk of obesity associated with organic food consumption.
Organic foods are free of preservatives. Preservatives are added ingredients that can help “enhance” flavor or color. Not all additives are unsafe, but several of the preservatives used in the production of non-organic, processed foods are linked with health issues.
For starters, artificial food colorings cause allergic reactions in some sensitive individuals. (There is an argument that colorings are linked with cancer but studies to date find this claim inconclusive.) According to scientific research, other preservatives are linked with several types of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. So buying organic food knowing that it is free of preservatives may provide a needed sense of relief.
Can improve sexual health
In addition to reducing risk of obesity and increasing antioxidant consumption, both of which can go a long way toward boosting sexual health, organic meats have greater omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than conventionally raised meats. CLA is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. And of course, you need a healthy heart if you expect to achieve orgasm. But even more remarkably, omega-3 fatty acids can improve mood and potentially improve sexual desire. Not only that, in at least one study, omega-3’s are linked with improved sexual function.
Better for the environment
Possibly the best-known benefit of choosing organics is that organic crops reduce the number of chemicals used on soil and chemical run-off that pollutes waterways. Organic farming can not only protect our planet from pollution now but can promote the health of the planet for generations. Organic farming not only promotes soil health but is linked with slowing climate change.
Support animal welfare
The production of organic meats, eggs and dairy promotes animal welfare as well as a healthy diet for the livestock. Organic farmers raise their animals without the use of antibiotics. This is better for both the animal and the immune system of any person who consumes antibiotic-free meat. In addition, organic meats, milk, cheese are free of synthetic hormones. The animals are provided with cage-free living conditions and feed on organic diets.
The best benefit of going organic is that it tastes better
There is evidence to support the idea that organics simply taste better. This is perhaps due in part, to the fact that organic soils are more multi-layered. (They usually have a greater variety of substances and organisms from which the plants can draw. This can result in more complex flavors.) And in the case of meat, eggs and organic milk, it might be that the organically raised meat was simply fed higher quality feed. This is something you can judge for yourself but I think that when you switch to organic, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
How to eat organic on a budget
Organic foods cost more to produce than conventionally grown foods. And because there’s less of a demand for expensive, organic ingredients, the cost is driven up even further. However, the benefits to your health mentioned above, not to mention the health of the planet, should inspire you to choose at least some organic foods.
If you are budget-conscious but want to start buying organic, shop at budget-friendly stores. You may not find as many organic choices as you will at higher-end stores but you will find some organics – and probably at fairer prices. Also, be sure to look for sales on organic products. And if you don’t mind buying in bulk, check for organic versions of your favorite foods at warehouse clubs. You might find a bargain.
Fruits and vegetables to buy organic
Another way to start eating organic is to concentrate on produce. Fruits and vegetables are considered to be among the top foods to buy organic. The best place to start is by reading the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen List” of foods with the most pesticides. Although the list is updated annually, some foods that always make the list of foods to eat organic include strawberries and spinach.
For some additional reading on organic foods, Ivy recommends:
This article first appeared on our site in 2006. We felt that January is a great time to revisit this story on how eating organic can be an important part of self-care and care for our world.
Featured image by Brooke Lark
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