Organic products are usually more expensive, but thanks to their health and environmental benefits they have more and more advocates.
Faced with the rise of organic products, doubts may arise about their true value. But studies on its health benefits increasingly give arguments to its defenders, who are also motivated by ethical, social and environmental reasons.
Advantages and Benefits of Organic Products
Organic production responds to the demand for natural and healthy food. According to a survey, the average consumer of organic products is young, with children, a higher than average education and is interested in the effect of food on their health. For this reason, look for foods with ecological endorsement and if possible produced in their environment.
He prefers them to the prepared or known brand. However, there are still few people who know all the advantages of these foods.
They Do Not Contain Pesticides
It is the most obvious advantage. Conventional agriculture uses more than 400 pesticides, most of which are proven allergens, neurotoxic, and carcinogens. Half of the fruits and vegetables that are consumed contain some residue.
The health authorities ensure that the residues do not exceed safety limits, but according to the German State Office for Chemical and Veterinary Control an average of 0.4 mg of pesticides is ingested for every kilogram of fruit or vegetables.
Taking into account the cumulative and cross-over effects, more and more experts agree that in the long term there are no safe doses, no matter how low. Instead of synthetic pesticides, the organic farmer uses substances that already exist as such in nature (sulfur, copper sulfate…), as well as herbal preparations.
A More Alive Land
Along with the bags of pesticides, those of chemical fertilizers based on mineral compounds (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium…) are used. The organic farmers, however, employ compost made from plant waste or manure.
With these organic fertilizers and by rotating crops and resting the soil, they promote the natural fertility of the land, in which many substances and microorganisms intervene. A Swiss study has shown that organic farm soil has more worms, arthropods, fungi and bacteria that help plants absorb more nutrients.
Great Antioxidant Power
Many vegetables provide chemicals that, without being nutrients, have healthy antioxidant effects. Most are flavonoids or organic acids that plants create to protect themselves from the sun or pests.
In the human body, these compounds act against free radicals, which can damage cells and promote the development of tumors.
A Taste Like Before
One reason that leads to consuming organic products is to recover the flavor of yesteryear. “Tomatoes don’t taste like they used to,” they say to themselves. Organic ones, on the other hand, retain their aroma.
It is not magic: the use of chemical fertilizers increases the proportion of water in the food; in organic ones the proportion is lower and, therefore, the aromatic agents are more concentrated. Studies confirm this: organic citrus fruits have 24% more essential oils, which also serve the plant as a defense.
On the other hand, organic farmers often choose local varieties adapted to the terrain or climate, rather than the hardier or fast-growing ones. And food, if acquired in season, is harvested ripe, so it does not go through the camera.
A More Varied Diet
Vegetables that are not seen in supermarkets are often found at an organic produce stand: kohlrabi, purple potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, wild salads… These foods enrich and brighten up the diet.
The variety is not on a whim or to attract attention, but a consequence of how you work on an organic farm. Instead of betting everything on one card (a plant that occupies large areas) a diversity of species and varieties is cultivated to reduce the risk of disastrous pests.
Eat Fewer Additives
The bio foods may contain only a few of the more than one thousand additives using food industry: additives based on natural extracts. In contrast, the conventional food industry has an arsenal to improve the taste, appearance and texture of products, extend their shelf life and lower costs.
What might seem an advantage is not so much, since many additives are suspected of having negative effects on health, from allergic reactions and irritations to behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity in children.
Brake on Climate Change
Food production is responsible for 30% of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere (half is attributed to transport).
This impact can be reduced, because some foods cause more emissions than others. In addition, choosing organic products reduces the impact by a third, because organic farms emit less CO2 and fix more in the soil and vegetation.
Intelligence and Foresight
To produce organic food, farmers need to fully understand how nature works and try to collaborate with it rather than fight it. To do this, they take into account both traditional knowledge and the latest scientific findings.
Instead of using a chemical insecticide they create the conditions so that the pest does not appear. Other strategies include rotating crops, using well-adapted varieties, intercropping plants that repel harmful insects, or resorting to predatory insects and pheromone traps.
These measures are so effective that conventional farmers are gradually incorporating them, which is reducing the use of pesticides.
Organic farmers must write down in a book what they do each day and receive inspections where samples are taken. In the event of any infringement, the certification is withdrawn.
A More Caring World
By purchasing organic food, an alternative production model is supported, based on small and medium farms or cooperatives.
It is a model of sustainable development that works well in both rich and poor countries. In these, organic farming is often associated with “fair trade”, guaranteed with the Fair Trade and Hand in Hand seals, which improves farmers’ income.
A Balanced Landscape
One can imagine a territory largely occupied by large monocultures and the rest abandoned or turned into a nature reserve.
In this model, agriculture is a thing of the great food industry and implies the practical disappearance of rural life. Or you can imagine a world where small and medium farmers, proud of their work, take care of their lands and give life to the villages.
Ecological farms are identified with this more harmonious way of relating to nature and which is reflected in the beauty of the landscape and biological diversity.
Respect for Animals
Animals lead a much more dignified life on an organic farm. And, on the other hand, the living conditions of the animal are reflected in the quality of the products, whether milk, eggs or meat, which may have a different chemical composition if the animal suffers stress, lacks movement or other factors.
Many people start organic eating when they have their first child, as their priority is to offer less contaminated and purer food.
They do well, because children’s bodies are much more vulnerable to toxins, especially those that affect the reproductive, nervous and immune systems. In fact, this vulnerability already exists in pregnancy, so future mothers should also consider it.
Couples who want to conceive also have reasons to eat organic: according to animal studies, fertile capacity increases between 30 and 200%.