You’re undoubtedly familiar with organic foods—once relegated only to organic grocery stores, now they’re everywhere. Is organic food really synonymous with “safer and more nutritious,” or is it just a gimmick so people can charge more? Here’s what you need to know before you hit the health food shops.
A quick guide to organic farming practices
Organic farming extends from fruits and vegetables to the animals we eat for meat. It’s the practice of keeping the farming process as natural as possible, eliminating toxic chemicals, synthetics and pesticides and emphasizing sustainable practices.
In addition to being as natural as possible, organic farming also seeks to reduce pollution, preserve or enhance the soil quality, use as few resources as possible and enable natural livestock behavior. Farmers accomplish this by using mulch for weed control, rotating crops, composting and using manure for fertilizer, releasing predatory insects for pest control and using only approved pesticides.
What you won’t see in true organic farming includes synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetic engineering, antibiotics and irradiation. The end result is a safer, more natural source of nutrition for your whole family.
How to tell if a product is organic
When you want to buy organic, check the label. Large certified farms can use the USDA Organic label, which means that the product is grown and processed in a certified organic manner. However, small farms that produce less than $5,000 in organic foods per year can also call their foods organic—they just can’t use the USDA label.
There are also levels of organic food you’ll see in organic grocery stores. For example, you might see “organic,” “100 percent organic,” “made with organic” and “organic ingredients” labels in the store. Keep in mind that “made with organic” and “organic ingredients” products may be 70 percent or more organic—but they can’t claim to be organic (95 percent) or 100 percent organic.
Finally, know the difference between “natural” and “organic.” Natural products simply mean that they’re made without artificial flavors, ingredients or preservatives. Organic products follow the organic farming practices described above.
Are organic products worth it?
As you likely know, organic products tend to be more expensive than the alternative. That’s because it takes more time, effort and money to produce truly organic products. Is it worth it? In fact, organic foods typically have a higher nutrient amount, more omega-3 fatty acids and fewer bacteria, pesticides and heavy metals.
If you’re conscious about what you’re eating—especially if you have sensitivities to artificial ingredients—organic products are a no-brainer. However, everyone can benefit from consuming organic food. Not only is it safer and healthier on the whole, it’s also a good opportunity to “vote with your wallet”—by purchasing organic foods, you send a message to the government and major manufacturers that you value better nutrition and farming practices.
Anytime you can choose organic, it will be a better option. Check out the selection at your local health food shop when you pay a visit to Mother Nature’s Food today.
Categorised in: Health Tips