Organic or Conventional – What’s the Difference?
If your first response is “well, it’s more expensive!” then you have much to learn about organic food versus its conventional counterpart. There are several reasons why organic foods are considered better, read on for more.
Organic Food Has More Antioxidants
While it certainly is beneficial that organically grown foods do not make use of (or are heavily restricted to using) nitrogen and phosphate-based fertilizers, a secondary and mostly unknown side benefit has arisen – organic food has a higher concentration of antioxidants. While that might not seem like something to write home about, thing about this: the difference in antioxidants in organically grown food is equivalent to eating 1-2 additional portions of non-organic foods per day. We all know by now how vital antioxidants are to keeping us healthy – the same goes for vitamins, which are also found to be in higher concentrations in organic foods.
Heavy Metals are Lower in Organic Food
Any heavy metal ingested or absorbed into the body is not a good thing, as they are accumulated in our cells and can cause long-term health issues, including certain cancers. The restrictions on chemical fertilizers used in organic farming equal a reduction in toxic heavy metals, with certain metals, like cadmium, showing significantly lower levels (48%). Meanwhile, levels of nitrogen, nitrate, and nitrite are also lower.
Organic Food Lower in Harmful Pesticides
Many of us have accepted that pesticides are a part of growing crops, but not all pesticides are equal, especially when many foods have been found to have higher than acceptable levels of harmful pesticide chemicals. Consuming higher than acceptable amounts of pesticides can lead to serious health issues including birth defects, cancer, and nerve damage – but we rarely have an idea of how much, or the type of pesticides we are consuming. Switching to organic produce significantly lowers the risk of long term exposure, while garnering the benefits of more nutrient-dense foods.
But What About Cost?
Finally, organically-grown fruit and vegetables do tend to cost more than their conventional counterparts, but for a good reason. You can balance this cost by growing some food at home during the warm seasons, buying direct from local farmers, even buying large amounts and freezing or canning food for later use – such as with spaghetti sauces or soups. With all the benefits associated with organic food, it’s high time to consider making the switch for the health of you and your family.