“Organic food” is a phrase that makes us think of healthy food and healthy lifestyle. But is such food really healthy? What do we know about “organic food”?
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Nowadays many people are concerned about their health and do not mind spending some extra dollars on the food with a sticker “organic food”. But what does “organic product” mean? Organic product is produced without the use of any pesticides, synthetic mineral fertilizers, GMO, ionizing radiation, and artificial additives. It is considered to contain fewer nitrates, but in fact such food does not contain fewer nitrates than the conventional one.
Such organic vegetables and fruits, from special stores, are also grown with the help of nitrates. The root membrane of a plant absorbs only certain chemical molecules. The root absorbs water with nitrates (a source of nitrogen), phosphates (a source of phosphorus) and potassium cations dissolved in it. These chemicals (nitrate, phosphate and potassium) are the main components of plant’s nutrition and all these substances are inorganic. So, it does not matter what you use to fertilize soil (ready-made nitrate or manure), anyway the plant gets nitrate from it.
As we understand that both organic and conventional food contains nitrate, it is high time to ask if there is any difference between them then. Yes, there is, I would answer. The key point is the concentration of nitrates. But again organic food may contain even more nitrates, in comparison with conventional food. The fact is that it does not really matter what fertilize to use (organic or inorganic), what really matters is how much fertilize is used. But in favor of the organic food it is important to say that the research conducted in 2011 proved that food with the label “organic” contains fewer nitrates.
Are organic products more environmentally friendly?
One of the reasons why many people choose to buy organic food is that it is produced in an environmentally friendly way. Of course special organizations control the way farmers treat the animals they have and the conditions of their keeping. At this point we may say that the production of organic food is more humane. And what can we say about growing organic plants?
More than 90% of the people in the UK, who were asked about the reasons they buy organic food, answered that the main reason is that it contains fewer pesticides. In fact, the content of pesticides in it can be the same as in the regular fruits and vegetables. It happens because pesticides should be used while growing plants and farmers who produce organic food use organic pesticides instead of synthetic ones. The study of 2010 showed that some organic pesticides can have even worse impact on soil than synthetic.
Are there any benefits for health?
The statement that organic fruits and vegetables guarantee us perfect health is not right. Such name only shows us that the fruits and vegetables were grown in accordance with the principles of ecological farming.
Adherents of the idea of healthy organic food often refer to scientific publications, which should prove that eco-friendly vegetables, fruits, grains or milk, in comparison with conventional analogs, contain, for example, more vitamins C, A or polyphenols (substances that according to different data can prevent cancer). So are they more salubrious?
Recently the scientists have analyzed the great amount of such studies. For example, the researchers from Stanford University studied about 240 works where the effects of organic and non-organic food were compared. The main conclusion was that in terms of consumer’s health these products are identical. Practically the same conclusion was made by Food Standards Agency that studied the same issue.
Many scientists claim that organic food affects our health in the same way as regular food. The main difference is the method of production and cost of such products. Sometimes the healthiness of the food we eat depends not on the way it is produced but on the reliability of the farmer.
As you can see, even organic food may be spoiled by pesticides if a farmer who grows it uses a lot of fertilizers. In such a situation, it would be more useful to find out who produces the food you want to buy.
What is Organic Food, and is it Better Than Non-Organic? – Health Line
Is organic food healthier? – The Guardian
Are lower pesticide residues a good reason to buy organic? – Scientific American
Organic pesticides not always ‘greener’ choice, study finds – Science Daily
Is organic food actually better? Here’s what the science says – ZME Science
Organic food ‘not automatically better,’ study finds – The Globe and Mail
No scientific proof that organic food is healthier than non-organic food – Science Nordic
Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, research finds – Stanford Medicine