Fact or Myth - Exploring the Health Benefits of Organic Food to Conventional Ones
I'm guessing you've probably come across the term "organic food" at some point or perhaps you're among those who advocate for its consumption. Over the past few years, there has been a growing trend towards choosing organic foods, even as their prices continue to rise. These foods are often touted as being more natural, healthier, and ethically produced. But what exactly are organic foods, and do they live up to their health claims?
There is no global meaning for organic, so it can be defined by different countries depending on the rules placed by the food agencies in the countries but in general, they are food that isn't farmed using Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seeds, synthetic fertilizers, or synthetic pesticides. Everything in the process of producing the food should be traditional and this includes the use of organic fertilizers and crop rotation. If you decide to buy anything organic in recent times, it tends to be 3 times the amount of non-organic foods that are being sold. So are they worth it?
Proponents of organic foods often argue that they are not only healthier but also tastier and more nutritious than their conventionally grown counterparts. However, it might seem like they are merely trying to sell us a dream. Surprisingly, scientific research has shown that organic food does contain higher levels of antioxidants compared to conventional foods. These antioxidants are naturally produced by plants as a form of self-defense against pests and diseases. Antioxidants are believed to offer significant health benefits, although ongoing research is still uncovering the full extent of their advantages.
Furthermore, some studies have suggested that organic plants have notably higher levels of essential nutrients such as vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. However, it's essential to note that other studies found no significant differences between organic and non-organic options in terms of nutrient content. Thus, based on the mixed evidence available, it's challenging to definitively claim that organic foods offer significant health benefits over their non-organic counterparts.
You see, there is a woman I know in Ekiti state, Nigeria. For the past 25 years, she has been eating her planted Ofada rice, yam, and beans, produces her own palm oil, doesn't eat vegetable or groundnut oil because they are processed, gets her vegetables from her farm, uses locust beans instead of seasoning, buy fishes directly from the riverside, eat her own breaded poultries, and her goats, and buys only salt for taste when cooking. She said she decided to do this because her husband died as a result of a terminal illness which she believed was from pesticides, germicides, and synthetic fertilizers.
This story illustrates that many people opt for organic foods to reduce the risk of ingesting harmful substances into their bodies. It's worth mentioning that studies have indeed indicated that organic foods tend to have fewer pesticide residues compared to non-organic varieties. However, it's essential to clarify that "fewer" doesn't mean "none" in most cases. In situations where pesticides are necessary for organic farming, they typically employ organic alternatives, which may have their own drawbacks. On the flip side, the pesticide levels found in non-organic foods generally fall within safe limits, so there's no substantial evidence to suggest that organic foods are significantly safer in this regard.
It is challenging to draw a definitive verdict in the organic vs. non-organic food debate, as both options have their pros and cons and both types of farming can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, which is another consideration. Therefore, instead of fixating on whether your food is organic or conventional, it's more important to focus on maintaining a balanced and healthy diet. After all, whether your fruits and vegetables are organic or not, they still provide essential nutrients for your well-being.