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What is Organic Food?

Organic food

What is Organic Food?

What it means to be organic

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

Thomas Edison was leaps and bounds ahead of his time. Put simply: the food we ingest has a direct impact on our overall wellbeing. and this is a huge part of why so many people are making the leap to buying organic food.

But what exactly is organic food? And why should we be buying it?

Animal welfare

Top of the list of reasons is, for most people, the fair and dignified treatment of animals as a source of food. From the free-range housing of happy hens to the pesticide free grass on which cows graze, organic farming protects the interests of animals far more so than the conventional approaches of so-called ‘intensive’ farming.

We must be realistic that animals will always be a popular part of modern diets, but the onus is most definitely on us to make sure that their treatment is as fair and respectful as possible. Buying organic is the easiest way to play your part.

Chemicals, GMOs and pesticides

A large proportion of the British public is blissfully unaware of the chemicals and pesticides sprayed directly on the produce they’re consuming. Putting utter trust in supermarkets and farming, we quite happily consume an apple thinking we’re being healthy. But we don’t stop to consider the added ‘ingredients’ that have gone into making that apple so juicy and delicious.

Contrary to popular belief, organic food isn’t always completely chemical free. But there are strict regulations in place (mostly laid down by the Soil Association) governing which, if any, pesticides can be used in the production of genuinely organic foods.

Environmental impact

Many people have argued the toss about just how much impact convention farming has on the environment. But the truth is indisputable on a purely geographical level: organic farming all but eliminates soil and water contamination, helps to preserve local wildlife and reduces erosion.

Additionally, organic food is, more often than not, distributed locally, playing its part in the fight against global warming through reduced transportation and fewer carbon emissions.

Our health

Going back to Thomas Edison’s foresight, there have been plenty of fascinating studies regarding the correlation between our health and the food we imbibe. Another interesting quote states:

“If a fish is swimming in a dirty tank and it gets sick, do you take it to the vet and amputate the fin? No, you clean the water.” (Kriss Carr, wellness activist and cancer survivor)

Eating organic is our way of cleaning our tanks. There’s an argument that it’s more about perception of health than direct impact, but small proportions of scientific research certainly support these increasingly popular opinions.

Take the humble tomato: research has shown (according to a 10-year study conducted by the University of California) that organic tomatoes are grown in an environment which has a lower nutrient supply because of the lack of additive chemicals. As a result, the tomato forms increased levels of natural antioxidants (such as quercetin - 79% higher - and kaempferol - 97% higher) which, as we know, are big players in the fight against heart disease and cancer.

The research marches on and the statistics only get more and more convincing.

The cost of organic food

Ask most people and they would say that ‘organic’ equals ‘expensive’. But people are increasingly willing to invest a little extra cash in securing purer food. So why exactly is organic food more expensive?

It really boils down to a supply and demand situation: if more people insisted on buying only organic food, the costs would naturally dip. There’s still the consideration that organic food is produced under more exacting standards, which naturally increases the cost. But technological advances partnered with economies of scale should, eventually, marry happily to bring the relative costs closer together.

So if you’ve been thinking about making a change to your diet and boosting the nutritional value of your daily fuel, there are myriad reasons to buy organic. By making simple changes to your regular buying habits, you’ll help to develop a more sustainable, ethically sound future while cleaning up your health at the same time.

And doesn’t that sound delicious?