Is organic food worth it? Is it more nutritious and safer to eat? Let’s find out what makes organic foods different in this article!
Is Organic Food Worth It?: What You Should Know
What Is Organic Food?
Many people consider the health benefits of eating organic foods while strolling down the aisles of the grocery store. Although organic food has become an increasingly popular subject, trying to figure out the benefits, the labels, the negative aspects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or pesticides causing cancer or not can be extremely confusing.
What needs to be organic and what does not have to be organic? Is organic food worth it? Gaining further knowledge on the subject can be helpful when preparing your meals.
What is the true definition of organic? This specific term we see plastered all over the health industry refers to the way agricultural products are not only grown but how they are processed as well.
The regulations in each country vary. However, in the U.S., if a crop is called organic, it is imperative that it is grown without the use of GMOs, modified and synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, and heavy metals.
Conventionally-grown food is often much cheaper than organic food; however, if your bank account allows you to afford it, organic may be the healthier option.
Look for specific foods that make it possible to purchase organically-grown food and stay within your budget range.
It’s important to understand your produce pesticide levels. Many, if not all, pesticides should be avoided.
There are some types of food that are conventionally grown with larger amounts of pesticides than others, but there are some grown with low enough amounts of pesticides. They are considered safe for the body.
Foods to Buy Organic and Non-Organic Foods You Can Try
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the organic label is of higher importance, and oftentimes, it is truly best to buy something that’s certified organic. But, I’ve included lists of foods that are best to buy organic as well as the foods that are less vital to worry about.
Foods Best to Buy Organic
- Peaches have small amounts of B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are all essential nutrients in the body that play different roles.
- Spinach contains magnesium and calcium -- both important minerals to strengthen your bones.
- Grapes possess nutrients essential for your bone's health, just like spinach, and these include vitamin K, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
- Kale has high amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene that help fight oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
- Apples contain high amounts of water and fiber that are great for hydration and digestion, respectively.
- Bell peppers are a good source of folate and vitamin B6 that can aid in preventing anemia.
- Celery has minerals (sodium, iron, and magnesium) that may help neutralize acidity in the body. These minerals also play a crucial role in many bodily functions.
- Cucumber is also rich in water and helps hydrate the body.
- Collard greens are packed with vitamin A that plays a crucial role in the growth of bodily tissues and supports the health of your eyes and the immune system.
- Potatoes contain potassium that aids in regulating mineral balance and fluids in and out of the cells.
- Tomatoes are a good source of the antioxidant lycopene that may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
- Squash has manganese that helps you process carbs and fats and helps strengthen bones.
- Organic strawberries have ellagic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, and salicylic acid that may help eliminate dead skin cells, prevent acne, and reduce hyperpigmentation.
Ellagic Acid Definition: A compound from different nuts and fruits that has the ability to fight the growth of cancer cells.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid Definition: A cluster of synthetic and natural ingredients that may help exfoliate the upper layers of the skin when formulated.
Salicylic Acid Definition: A keratolytic that belongs to the same class of medication as aspirin. It works by enhancing the amount of skin moisture.
Non-Organic Foods to Buy
The following list of foods, also known as the “Clean 15,” is a group of foods that are typically lower in pesticide contamination levels.
- Onions are packed with prebiotics and fiber important for your gut health.
- Papayas are rich in dietary fiber that may support proper digestion and may aid in keeping a regular bowel movement.
- Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain that may help suppress inflammation and boost immunity.
- Mushrooms have chitin, beta-glucans, and fiber that help reduce appetite and increase satiety.
- Asparagus has folate that is important in producing deoxyribonucleic acid and forming red blood cells for healthy development and growth.
- Grapefruit has high levels of water content; good for hydration.
- Cantaloupe contains beta-carotene converted into vitamin A for the promotion of eye health.
- Eggplants are low in calories and high in fiber, which are a great addition to your weight loss plan.
- Kiwis contain lutein and zeaxanthin, -- contributors to the promotion of eye health.
- Sweet corn has vitamin E important for keeping healthy skin.
- Cabbage possesses vitamin C that helps in protecting the body from the damage of free radicals.
- Sweet peas have protein responsible for bone health and muscle strength.
- Sweet potatoes have beta-carotene converted into vitamin A that's crucial for maintaining healthy skin, teeth, and vision.
- Mangoes are rich in vitamin B6 that is essential to maintain the health of red blood cells, skin, and nerves.
- Avocados have more potassium than bananas aiding in keeping electrical gradients in the cells.
Organic Food Can Be Higher in Price Than Non-Organic Food
Yes, organic food is definitely in the higher price range. This is a result of organic farms being smaller than conventional farms and the labor intensity the farmers typically endure.
They do not use pesticides or drugs and require an organic certification that is most oftentimes very expensive. However, there are many ways to keep it within your budget such as buying your produce at farmers’ markets, buying your food “in season,” or simply shopping around for the best deals out there.
It is also important to remember that the term “organic” can be used as a marketing tool. Health companies tend to make it appear that “junk food” is healthy by slapping the word “organic“ on the box.
Keep in mind these foods may have amplified amounts of sugars, fats, salts, and calories. It is important to read your food labels carefully.
Organic Food Has No Pesticides
Organic foods are virtually produced without pesticides where conventional food continues to have a residue of pesticides even once washed. The way the food that you put into your body is grown can lead to huge impacts on your emotional and mental health as well as huge impacts on the environment.
Organic foods are typically more beneficial when it comes to nutrients, and there are a few factors to keep in mind when locally shopping for fresh organic foods. Organic produce is most oftentimes fresher because it does not have preservatives; that type of farming is much better for the environment and better for people with food allergies.
Organic produce has less pesticide exposure, and it is non-GMO. Overall, it’s important to understand what organic means when shopping for produce and to understand not all things “organic” are healthy, and some foods are okay to buy non-organic.
RELATED: Organic Spring Roll Salad Recipe
Benefits of Eating Organic Food
The following health benefits of organic foods will help you answer the question “is organic food worth it?” to add to your diet?
1. Safe from Poisonous Substances
Because organic farming does not utilize any kind of dangerous chemicals, you can be sure you're safe from food poisoning or any related condition. The processes of organic products are natural so consumers are safe from harm.
Organic farmers do not use pesticides or herbicides. They allow the richness of organic soil to provide natural protection for the plants.
This is why plants grown in nutrient-rich organic soil contain higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. There are zero chemicals that strip away the soil’s natural goodness.
Trivia: Not only is organic food healthy for you, but it’s also great for the environment. Organic farming only uses 50% energy compared to chemical-oriented farming!
2. May Help Strengthen the Immune System
Organic foods are not altered or do not involve chemically processed methods so dangerous chemical substances are not present. This means the nutrients it naturally contains are not genetically modified, allowing your body to absorb it and take advantage of its benefits including strengthening the immune system.
3. Provides Better Taste Than Highly-Processed Foods
Because organic products do not undergo high chemical processing, their sugar and mineral structures taste better as the crops were given enough time to mature and develop. Aside from that, the utilization of environmentally-friendly agricultural production methods adds to the better taste of these products.
4. Has Antioxidant Properties
Organic products sustain their naturally-occurring nutrients, and this is the reason why their antioxidant properties are also retained. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can harm the body.
These products even provide positive impacts on the body because of their sustained nutrients. They also limit your exposure to heavy metals, which are toxic to the human body.
5. Supports Better Overall Health
Organic foods are safe from toxic elements that may not affect your health in harmful ways. The use of green manure, for example, to fertilize the lands provides healthier and safer food products.
This means the production alone gives produces healthy foodstuff for consumers to promote better nourishment and better overall long-term health.
Find out what nature's rules for health care in this video from Sunwarrior:
So, is organic food worth it? The obvious answer to this question is yes. It’s worth your money to invest in as it’s a safer and healthier alternative than other types of food products.
Are you considering to go on an organic diet? What are your favorite organic vegetables and fruits? Tell us in the comments section below.
- Organic Clothing: What’s the Hype!?
- Food Prep Day for Lasting Dietary Success
- What Are Protein Peptides?
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 13, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.