The demand for organic food products has been increasing in India and the global market since last decade.
The reason for increasing demand is developed by positive consumer perceptions on the health benefits and environment sustainability factors related to organic foods and organic farming.
There are many questions among the customers regarding the consumption of organic food. Are they really give more health benefits?
What is Organic Food?
All foods produced without using any man made chemical are known as organic food.
Organic food is produced by organic farming methods that avoids the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Organic farming also avoids the use of genetically modified organisms and any other growth regulator.
Examples of organic food produced in this method include vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products, meat, honey, eggs and other organically processed foods.
6 Benefits of Organic Food
The marketing and promotions of organic food producers and organic food retailers made consumers blindly purchase organic foods without realising to what extent organic foods contribute health benefits to human.
If you are a regular consumer of organic food or planning to start consuming organic foods, then the below findings on organic food benefits are important to know.
[Also read: 3 Important Tips to Buy Organic Food]
1. Less or No presence of pesticide residues
All organic labelled food products may not 100% pesticides free produces. As organic food standard allow certain extent of pesticides or type of pesticides usage, many organic food producers use acceptable level of pesticides as per the organic farming standards.
These standards may vary from a country to another country. Thus, the organic vegetables, fruits or other produces may have no or less pesticides residues.
This factor enhances the food quality and safety standards of organic foods when compared to intensive conventional farming produces. Food quality and safety aspects have obvious relation with good human health.
Many consumers believe in this factor as the primary reason for consuming organic food products. This must be the primary reason for start consuming organic food.
2. Fresh produce with no or acceptable preservatives
Most of the organic produces do not use any kind of preservatives to retain the food usable for many days. So, the organic food manufacturers and suppliers are in the position to offer fresh foods to their customers.
Some organic products also use acceptable preservatives. Non-organic & non-agricultural substances (7 CFR 205.605) and other non-organic & agricultural substances (7 CFR 206.606) are acceptable additives in organic foods according to USDA guidelines.
Sodium benzoat and polysorbat are the common preservatives used as additives in conventional foods. But, these additives are not allowed in the products labelled as “Organic”, according to USDA.
Thus, organic food products ensure better food quality and safety than conventionally grown foods.
3. Environment friendly Organic Farming
Organic foods are not only good for consumers, but also good for the “Mother Earth”.
Organic groceries such as organic vegetables, fruits, pulses and other essential food products are produced by environment friendly organic farming methods.
4. Rich in antioxidants
Organic foods are rich in antioxidants. Organic form of agriculture management practices induce polyphenol content in natural foods such as fruits and vegetables. High level of polyphenol content increases the antioxidant properties of the organic foods.
A study tested antioxidant level in organic fruits and conventionally grown fruits. According to this research, organic fruits and vegetables have high level of antioxidant capacity due to the existence of high amount of polyphenol content.
Consumption of foods that are rich in antioxidant reduces the risks of chronic diseases. This factor shows that organic food has more health benefits than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.
5. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids concentration is higher in organic dairy products and organic meat when compared to conventional dairy and meat products.
Omega-3 is a type of poly-unsaturated fat. Recent studies identified the existence of higher omega-3 in the food (meat and milk) sourced from the animals that are not given any hormones, genetically modified feed and antibiotics.
Usually, seafood is rich in omega-3 acid. The dietary guidelines of US Department of Agriculture suggested seafood for more health benefits due the higher level of omega-3.
Omega-3 is essential for the better functioning of human body as it offers more health benefits. Thus, organic meat and diary products are healthier than non-organic meat and diary products.
6. Reduces the risks of critical diseases
Few studies identified a positive relationship between organic food consumption and reduced risks of critical diseases such as hypospadias and pre-eclampsia.
As discussed earlier, higher antioxidant in organic food enhance life quality by reducing the chances of diseases that persist for a long time.
Organic food consumption also reduces the chances of obesity. Obesity is the base for all critical diseases including diabetes and heart diseases.
So, there is at least a little contribution from organic foods in saving your life from life threatening diseases.
[Also read: Organic Food Industry in India – Growth Factors]
To what extent Organic Food enhance Human Health?
Many recent researches have derived the relationship between organic food consumption and human health.
Various factors decide the nature of human health that may differ person to person. Thus, references from long term studies on huge consumer population are prominent to take a strong stance on the benefits of organic foods and their effects on human health.
Unfortunately, long term researches with huge populations were not available to conclude the actual level of impact caused by organic food against conventional foods on human health.
Finally to conclude, there is no doubt in the fact that organic food products are healthier than conventional food products that are grown in the traditional method.
Go Organic, Go Healthy!