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Healthy Food

What do you need to know about organic foods?

Are organic foods healthier? Is it worth the cost? Learn what the labels mean to choose the best foods for the most Money.

What does the term “organic” refer to?

Organic refers to how agricultural products are grown and processed. Although regulations may vary from country to country, the U.S. requires that organic crops be grown without synthetic pesticides or herbicides.

Organic livestock that is raised for meat, eggs and dairy products must be kept in conditions that allow them to maintain their natural behaviour (such as being able to graze on grass) and fed organic feed. They cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones.

Organic food has many benefits

Your mental and emotional well-being and that of the environment can be affected by how your food is raised. People with allergies to chemicals or foods may notice a decrease or disappearance of symptoms when organic foods are consumed. Organic foods can often contain more nutrients than conventionally grown foods.

Organic produce is less pesticide-laden

Pesticide residues can remain in the food we eat.

Organic food is more fresh

It doesn’t have preservatives which make it last longer. Sometimes organic produce is produced in smaller farms closer to the place it will be sold.

Organic agriculture tends to be more sustainable

It is better for the environment, birds, and animals that live near farms than it is for people.

Organically-raised animals are not given growth hormones or antibiotics. The use of antibiotics may also lead to antibiotic-resistant strains. Organically raised animals are more mobile and have access to the outdoors. This helps them stay healthy.

Organic meats and milk may contain more nutrients than conventionally raised meats and milks.

GMO-free organic food is available

GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms are plants whose DNA has undergone genetic engineering to produce pesticides or be resistant to them.

Locally-grown food vs organic food

There is no standard for what “local food” means, unlike organic standards. It could be from your area, your state, your country, or even your own backyard. It is possible to buy food at local markets, especially during large parts of the year.

Locally grown foods have many benefits

Financial: Money stays in the local economy. Instead of going to marketing and distribution, more Money goes directly to farmers.

Transportation: The average distance that a meal takes from the farm to your plate in the United States is more than 1,500 miles. Produce must first be picked when it is still young and then “ripened” by gassing after transportation. Foods are also highly processed in factories that use preservatives, radiation, and other methods to preserve them for transport.

Freshness: Local foods are harvested when they are ripe, which makes them more flavorful and fresher.

Although some small farmers may use organic methods, they might not be able or able to afford to get certified organic. Talk to farmers at a farmer’s marketplace to learn more about their methods.

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Joseph M. Kay

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