Nutrition

Organic Food | Benefits, Importance And Definition

Written by Sarah Curran


Organic Food


Organic food has grown in popularity significantly over the last few years. However, there is often confusion as to what benefits organic produce can provide. Here, we give an insight as to the full effect it can have on ourselves and the environment we live in.


organic food


What Does “Organic” Mean?

 

The official definition of organic from the Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs is:

‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation. 

Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that is working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production. Instead, the agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding and biological pest control’.

Simply put, organic food is produced through natural means.


Are Only Fruit and Vegetables Organic?

 

It’s not just plants that can be produced organically. Organic animals are reared without the mass use of antibiotics and other unnatural methods. Plus, materials like cotton can be grown organically too.

You may have seen our organic range – it covers everything from protein powder to green tea.


green tea health benefits


Organic Benefit #1: It’s Better for the Environment

 

The way we grow our fruits and vegetables has a big effect on the planet . Currently, it is responsible for around 14% of total green-house gas emissions worldwide. According to the Soil Association, if everyone started to “go organic”, we could offset at around 23% of UK agriculture’s current official green-house gas emissions.

Organic agriculture also helps our soil to be more resistant to the impacts of climate change. Organic soil is generally more resistant to both drought and floods. After all, soil isn’t a renewable resource, so we should protect what we have.

Not only that, but organic farming avoids the common pesticides that can pollute our environment and water. There’s over 320 pesticides regularly used, and many end up showing up on your plate.


Organic Benefit #2: It’s Kinder to Animals

 

Organic farms protect key habitat areas for wildlife. This includes ponds, hedgerows, and grassy banks. In doing this, organic farms support up to 50% more wildlife, which is vital for our ecosystem. For instance, 2 out of 25 UK bumble bee species are already extinct, and these are key pollinators for our wild plants and flowers.


bumble bee


Organic Benefit #3: It’s More Nutritious

 

According to a 10-year study conducted by the University of California, organic tomatoes are much higher in antioxidants, particularly quercetin (79% higher) and kaempferol (97% higher) in organic tomatoes. So go organic next time you buy tomatoes reduce your chances of heart disease and various cancers.

There are limited studies on the nutritional benefits of organic foods, but studies like the one above indicate that they are naturally more beneficial to the body.


Organic Benefit #4: Control Over Your Diet

 

As we all know, fitness and nutrition are intrinsically linked, and as people focus on their diet, they are more commonly wondering where their nutrition is coming from.

By law, for food to be labelled as “organic” it must follow strict rules. This means that you can trace everything that has gone into your organic product – there are no hidden surprises. For instance, when you buy a banana, it doesn’t show on the label all the chemicals and pesticides that have gone into farming that fruit. When you buy organic, you don’t need to wonder what’s beyond the ingredients label.

To become classed as organic, food must be free from genetically modified ingredients, hydrogenated fats, artificial food colours and preservatives. So if you are conscious about maintaining a naturally beneficial diet, eating organic produce is the surest way to achieve it.


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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye has a MSc in Sport Physiology and Nutrition, and puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding. She enjoys a pun, and in her spare time loves dog walking and eating out.


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