Organic products refer to the products that are prepared, produces, or processed naturally without using any chemicals like chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides, or chemical preservatives. On the other hand, products grown or raised without the use of additives, coloring, synthetic chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, and hormones), radiation, or genetic manipulation are called organic products. Organic products are made by organic agriculture. Most well-known organic products are organic food items; however, clothing and personal care items can also be made with organic agriculture.
The demand for organic food has increased rapidly over the last 20 years in many developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia. Demand is mainly increased as per consumer perceptions that organic farming is more sustainable, and delivers environmental sustainability, biodiversity, animal welfare, and food quality and safety benefits compared to intensive conventional farming. Organic farming tends to be better for the environment as it reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility, the health of the soil, and uses less energy. Healthy soil is a key to growing healthy flora. Treating soil with harmful pesticides and fertilizers makes the soil dependent on these unnatural chemicals and makes soil unhealthy. Natural cultivation practices are far better than chemical soil management. Farming without synthetic pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms. Also, Organic farming supports water conservation and water health.
Organic food products are grown under a system of agriculture without the use of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides with suitable environmental and social conditions. Healthy soil is the basis for organic agriculture. Organic farmers use natural organic fertilizers and soil amendments like organic matter, green manures, and animal manures to build healthy soil. When food is grown in healthy soil, crops are better able to resist disease, survive drought, and tolerate insects. In this system growing plants take time to grow naturally but at the same time it is good for health, more safe and nutritious. Toxins may be present in food grown organically due to environmental contamination; still, there is evidence that organic food has increased levels of some nutrients and low levels of toxins. Organic food is therefore highly recommended in any diet but especially for those suffering from chronic ailments where there is an urgent need to reduce toxic load and maximize nutrient intake.
How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods have higher nutritional values than conventional foods. Chemicals such as synthetic fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues on the food we eat. Antibiotics or hormones are routinely used in conventionally reared animals and this is contributing to antibiotic resistance and residues remain in the final product and so are passed to us, which further leads to health problems like gut health, mental health. Foods grown without pesticides and fertilizers produce more phytochemicals (vitamins and antioxidants) that strengthen their resistance to bugs and weeds. People with food allergies or who are sensitive to chemicals or preservatives often find their symptoms reduced or diminished when they eat only organic foods. Studies have shown that organic milk and meat can be richer in nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have also proven that organic produce tends to have higher levels of vitamin C, certain minerals, and antioxidants.
Organic products reduce public health risks to farmworkers, their families, and consumers by minimizing their exposure to toxic and persistent chemicals on the farm and in food, the soil in which they work and play, the air they breathe, and the water they drink. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticides. Thus, offering organic food and fiber products into the marketplace gives parents the option of choosing products produced without the use of these toxins. The use of insecticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and weed killers is strictly monitored in organic food production. Cleaner food means a cleaner diet which leads to a cleaner bill of health. The choice of consuming organic foods is thus a growing trend in the world of today, as consumers are looking for reasons to eat healthier and they want more information about where their food comes from and how it was produced.
Health benefits of organic food includes:
1. Organic foods are free of toxins.
2. Organic food tastes better.
3. Organic foods protect the environment.
4. Organic foods are rich in antioxidants.
5. By eating organic foods, one could be ingesting an estimated 700 fewer chemicals.
6. Shopping organic supports local farmers.
7. Organic foods reduce your exposure to GMOs.
8. Organic foods reduce your exposure to hormones and antibiotics.
9. Consuming organic food can improve your heart health and lower your risk of cancer.
10. Eating organic can improve your overall health.
Organic foods promote the more humane treatment of animals, as well as providing meat that is free from hormones and antibiotics. Organic foods promote healthier and more sustainable use of natural resources. Organic farmers try to minimize damage to the environment by diversifying their crops, using physical weed control, animal and green manure. Organic food might be more expensive than conventionally produced food. This is because organic farming generally operates on a smaller scale, production is more laborious. Also, without herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals, yields are generally smaller.
Benefits of organic farming
If one chooses to go for organic food, one can start an edible garden. Organic gardening can be enjoyed by everyone and its benefits include:
• Increases physical activity levels.
• Reduces your stress.
• Is inexpensive and helps you save money.
• Food is fresh and ready to harvest.
• Encourages healthy eating, as food is more nutritious and reduces the consumption of processed foods.
• Reduces food packaging and waste, uses fewer chemicals, saves water, and lowers energy use and emissions, that means has less impact on the climate.
Remember that labelling a food ‘Organic’ does not necessarily mean the product is nutritious or healthy, labelling something organic is based solely on the agricultural field or farm practices.