Gardening

Ecological or Organic Food, Are they really better for your health and the environment?

Organic food , good for your health”, “Organic products: healthier and more respectful”, “Take care of your health and that of the environment with organic food”. All of them are news headlines related to the consumption of ecological, bio or organic products.

From fruits and vegetables eco until vegetables and olive oil through the nuts , are organic foods really better for our health? And for the environment? Why?

Previously, in other posts published in the Ecological Products section of the ECOagricultor Blog , we have talked to you about different issues about them. Today we will tell you how organic foods differ from non-organic ones and the 5 main benefits derived from their consumption, based on the latest studies published in this regard.

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Differences between organic and conventional foods

The organic food , biological or organic are agricultural or agro – industrial products obtained under sustainable procedures, limiting the use of pesticides – fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, etc. and food additives -colorantes, flavorants, fragrances, etc..

In accordance with European regulations, the characteristics  of eco foods are as follows:

They come from organic farming, are produced without the use of pesticides or additives, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not used in their production, they are obtained respecting the natural rhythm of growth and are certified by a control body or authority.

The main difference of these with respect to non-organic foods lies in the limitation or absence of synthetic substances, pesticides, additives and GMOs (transgenic). Also, organic foods are generally more nutritious , taste better, and grow in healthier soils. Let’s move on to look at all these benefits in more detail.

organic food health environment

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Consumption of organic food: 5 benefits for your health and the environment

These are five of the benefits that eating organic food can have on your health and the health of the environment, according to recent research:

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  1. Starting point: healthier soils

Green or organic farms produce higher quality food, and your healthier soils may have better microbial functional capacity and resistance to stress.

This study in strawberry crops showed that organically managed soils contained significantly higher total carbon and nitrogen —21.6% and 30.2%, respectively— compared to conventionally managed soils. Also the proportions of other elements such as iron, zinc, boron and sodium were higher in organically cultivated soils.

  1. More antioxidants and less cadmium

Organic crops have 18% to 69% higher concentrations of antioxidants, the higher consumption of which – together with polyphenols – is associated with a lower risk of certain chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases ( study ).

Lower levels of toxic metallic cadmium are also observed in these cultures. Organic crops “on average, have higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower concentrations of Cd and a lower incidence of pesticide residues than non-organic comparators in all regions and seasons of production” ( study ).

  1. Higher amounts of omega 3, CLA and iron

Food from grass-fed animals, organic meat, eggs, milk and dairy products, have higher concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids ( study , study ).

Compared to grass-fed meat, conventional meat contains higher amounts of saturated fatty acids, specifically myristic acid and palmitic acid, which are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

For its part, organic milk contains higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) —anti-cancer and antiatherogenic effects—, and higher concentrations of iron and α-tocopherol, considered nutritionally desirable ( study ).

  1. Endocrine disruptors: cancer, diabetes, and obesity

Endocrine disruptors – also known as endocrine disruptors or hormone disruptors – are chemical substances outside the human body, capable of altering its hormonal balance, that is, of interrupting some physiological processes controlled by hormones.

Endocrine disrupting pesticides are associated with diseases including: breast cancer, prostate cancer, and thyroid cancer, and metabolic-type diseases, including diabetes and obesity ( study ). We were talking about this in this other article about the impact of pesticides on the environment and health.

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  1. ADHD prevalence

In children, exposure to organophosphate pesticides is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental effects, such as behavioral problems and decreased cognitive function. According to this research in 1,139 American children, their exposure to these compounds at common levels could contribute to the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a chronic neuropsychiatric developmental disorder.

The analysis indicates that “the main source of pesticide exposure for infants and children is diet […] children are at the highest risk of organophosphate toxicity, because the developing brain is more susceptible to neurotoxins.” He links higher levels of pesticide exposure to adverse developmental outcomes, and concludes: “Our findings support the hypothesis that current levels of exposure to organophosphate pesticides could contribute to the childhood burden of ADHD.”

Based on all these proven and documented benefits, we can affirm that organic food is definitely better for our health and that of the environment. And you, do you eat organic food? Why? Let us know in the comments!

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