Monday, January 30, 2012

Organic Foods Equal Improved Health?

I know for me, one of the greatest lifestyle changes I've made in the past few years is switching over to almost all organic foods. Joining a local CSA has allowed me to do this in a cost-effective manner, and also have the satisfaction of supporting my local community farmers and knowing exactly where my food comes from. I don't know if this is the sole reason, but I'm sure it does have some correlation with the fact that I pretty much NEVER get sick anymore. No more flu, no more twice a year colds, no long drawn out weeks of coughing and sniffling. I have had 2 colds in the past 4 years, both of which lasted no more than 3 days (one of them I caught from my boss, who suffered with his for 5 weeks!)  I can't say for sure this is entirely due to eating organically, but I'm sure it has had some impact. Eating healthy and fresh foods is one of the absolute best things you can do for your body and overall health.

English: Organic Farm Foods The packing facili...Image via WikipediaOrganic food is food that is free from all genetically modified organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and derived from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Once only available in small stores or farmers' markets, organic foods are becoming much more widely available.

Organic foods have been shown to improve your immune system, help you sleep better, shed the excess weight more easily, and improve your blood work just to name a few. Organic food can boast intense, realistic flavors, and a higher vitamin and mineral content.

And though logically it makes sense to consume a diet based on organic foods, some worry about the cost. But with careful planning and preparation, going organic is actually quite affordable. And, the peace of mind knowing you and your family are consuming foods that haven’t been treated with pesticides or genetically altered is worth the extra money spent.

The pesticides used by conventional farmers can have many negative influences on your health, including neurotoxicity, disruption of your endocrine system, carcinogenicity and immune system suppression. Pesticide exposure may also affect male reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women.

csa_week_4Image by karenandbrademerson via FlickrAdditionally, conventional produce tends to have fewer nutrients than organic produce. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce. Studies have found significantly higher levels of nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and significantly less nitrates (a toxin) in organic crops.

So it’s a smart idea to buy and eat organic produce and free-range organic foods as much as possible for maximum health benefits. In addition, the knowledge that you’re supporting the organic foods industry that is dedicated to protecting the environment by steering clear of harmful pesticides and chemicals that can result in the loss of topsoil, toxic runoff and resulting water pollution, soil contamination and poisoning and the death of insects, birds, critters and beneficial soil organisms should help you feel even better.

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