Because organic foods contain no chemicals or additives, they are free of potentially harmful substances, making organic foods a wise choice, both for consumers and for the environment. Years of adding antibiotics to animal feed has given rise to tremendous problems, as people have been inadvertently ingesting the drugs given to the animals that they are now consuming, a phenomenon that has given rise to drug-resistant bacteria, which pose serious threats to human health. Additionally, it goes without saying that there is virtually no one who has a preference for eating food that has been treated with pesticides and preservatives, so going organic puts the consumer at a much lower risk of exposure to potentially harmful and even toxic substances.
What are you really getting when you buy organic produce? Fruits and vegetables that are grown with natural fertilizers such as manure or compost, in fields where weeds are controlled by hand weeding, mulching, tilling and crop rotation, with natural techniques, including birds, good insects and traps, employed to prevent insect infestation. Best of all, organic produce is free of the unwelcome additions found in conventionally grown produce including fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, substances that frequently remain even after thorough washings, according to HelpGuide.org.
The worst offenders, with the highest levels of pesticides? Apples, bell peppers, grapes, cherry tomatoes, celery, potatoes, kale, peaches, spinach, squash, strawberries, hot peppers and cucumbers.
When it comes to meat and dairy products, an organic designation is an assurance that animals have been fed an all organic diet and have not been given any antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and GMOs, but have been raised using natural methods, including clean housing, rotational grazing and a healthy diet, all of which have been shown to prevent diseases. Organic chickens must have outside access, fresh air, direct sunlight and freedom of movement, while livestock and milking cows are provided with access to grazing pastures for at least four months out of the year.
Take all of the aforementioned factors into consideration and you are left with foods that are not only free of dangerous substances but may very well contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. A review by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined over 40 published studies comparing the nutritional content of conventionally grown produce and grains versus their organic counterparts and found that the organic items were nutritionist superstars. Organic items were found to provide 21.1 percent more iron, 27 percent more vitamin C, 29.3 percent more magnesium and 13.6 more phosphorus and that consuming five servings daily of certain organic vegetables provided the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.