What Does Organic Mean?
There’s a lot of conversation around the word organic when it comes to fruits and vegetables. But there are organic options when it comes to meat, seafood, dairy, and other products as well.
Organic, in general terms, means farming that skips on things like fertilizers, pesticides, growth stimulants, and additives. In other words — as natural as my love of a good nap.
But there’s different labels to take into account when it comes to organic foods at the grocery store.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has 4 categories:
➤ 100% Organic
➤ Organic (at least 95% of the product)
➤ Made with Organic Ingredients (at least 70% of the product)
➤ Organic Ingredients (less than 70% of the product)
Don’t let the labels fool you! Have you ever been in a store and seen the word Natural plastered on the box? Natural usually involves something else and has nothing to do with Organic labeling. Companies have a sly way of being tricksters at times.
Health Benefits of Eating Organic
All types of food have different forms of nutritional value. When looking at organic options of the foods we already eat, we have to break them up a little to see what kind of benefits they have.
I mean, we wouldn’t say toothpaste does the same thing as shampoo — right?
Here’s the thing about science and research. Us humans are always learning new things. We used to think otherwise, but it turns out that the nutrition levels in organic produce vs non-organic are pretty much the same.
That being said — you’re going to leave pesticide residue off of your plate if you go the organic route. According to healthline.com — Pesticide exposure may be associated with a higher risk of Parkinson’s Disease and could alter specific genes involved in its development. Similarly, pesticide exposure could be linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. What’s more, some research also shows that pesticide use may be associated with certain types of cancer.
So — it’s probably a good idea to limit foods with high pesticide exposure, go organic, or thoroughly wash the product before eating it.
Dairy and Eggs
I can almost hear the sizzle of the frying pan when talking about eggs. Such a wonderful source of protein!
But what about organic eggs? Do they increase nutritional value?
With both dairy cows and hens, it’s not very common for them to receive any kind of antibiotic treatment. The products themselves are also not usually exposed to pesticides either. There is a slightly higher report of Omega-3 in organic milk and eggs, but it’s not very significant.
Meat, Poultry, and Fish
How do our land roaming animals do in this debate?
These items could be in the same category with dairy and eggs. Research has shown that there’s really no huge difference in nutrition between organic and conventional meat. Grass fed beef has a slightly higher Omega-3 component, but not enough to really make an impact.
Unfortunately, our little sea creature friends are hard to track, even in farmed raised situations. We might just need to be patient for more information on seafood to come out.
Environmental Benefits of Organic Farming
Now — I’m someone who loves the outdoors. The whole conversation on organic farming isn’t just what it can do for humans, but what it does for this big green earth we live in. I personally would like to make this a livable planet for future generations.
So what does organic farming really do?
According to Colorado.edu — Organic farming reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility and health, and uses less energy.
I’m here for that!
Going organic is totally up to you. The cost alone can be a little scary. But there are long-term effects to consider for both your health and the environment. I encourage you to do your research and do what feels right for you.
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