Have you ever wondered whether organic food is really healthier or why some foods are classified as ‘organic food’? You must know that before a product is labelled as organic food, it has to be approved by the government-certified agencies after they inspect the farm where the food is grown. Some necessary standards are required to be maintained by food producers as per country norms.
One of the reason’s farmers are considering organic food production more than ordinary ones is the use of renewable resources alongside conservation of water and soil to enhance environmental quality. Just like we find organic fruits and vegetables, organic meat, egg and dairy products can also be found in the market. Organic meat and poultry comprise those animal products that have not been given any kind of antibiotics or growth hormones. Let us learn all about organic food, how it can be identified and why you must buy them for your health benefits.
Organic food overview
The term organic is defined as a process under which specific food is produced. They are farmed without using antibiotics, artificial chemicals, hormones or genetically modified organisms use. To be labelled under organic food, farmers have to avoid using artificial food additives that include preservatives, artificial sweeteners, flavours, colour or monosodium glutamate.
The process used for growing organic food itself will amaze you. Organically grown food use natural fertilizer only such as manure to improve food growth. Even the animals raised organically are not provided with artificial chemicals. Some of the main organic food which we tend to buy includes vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy products. Nowadays, many companies are taking an active part in organic food processing such as organically produced cookies, sodas and breakfast cereals.
Why you must buy organic food?
Needless to say, that we all are looking for ways through which ongoing pandemic impacts can be lessened and we can adapt to the new normal more healthily. I believe that that increasing health concern among people is because of a growing number of chemicals used in food that act as a great threat to human survival. Owing to harmful chemical effects, consumers are trying to switch to organic food as they want to consume food that is free of any kind of harmful and toxic substances.
The UN reports say that more than 200,000 people die each year because of the toxic effects of food pesticides. Hence, we would recommend to switch to organic food as soon as possible to avoid negative health impacts. In fact, many people have already started using organic food since they are concerned about antibiotics and additives in food and believe that organic food is healthier and reliable. Environmentalists, on the other side concerns more about biodiversity factors and conventional farming practices along with ethical treatment of livestock.
The benefits of organic food
Organic food has fewer pesticides: Harsh chemicals like herbicides, synthetic fungicides and insecticides are used immensely in conventional farming. Their residue remains in the food we buy and eat, unlike organic food which uses them rarely.
Organic food is fresh than ordinary food products: since organic food does not have any preservative to make it last longer, they are usually brought and sold instantly. Most of the times farm owners themselves produce organic food and sells them to nearby stores.
Organic food is good for the environment: Organic food uses fewer chemicals and does not contaminate soil or water thereby reducing pollution, soil erosion and water wastage. Since the food lacks synthetic pesticides, they are good for nearby animals and birds along with people working on the farm.
Organically raised livestock are free from harmful chemicals: many farm owners feed their livestock with growth hormones and by-products that increases the risk of diseases such as a mad cow. Using antibiotics further develops anti-resistant bacteria strains in them. Therefore, organic food is beneficial since organically raised animals are provided with a natural environment to grow along with healthier food to develop without any artificial medicines.
Organic dairy products and milk contain more nutrients: a European study revealed that necessary nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acid were around 50% higher in organic food as compared to food raised by conventional animals raising methods.
Organic food does not have genetically modified organisms: Genetically engineered plants and animals contains DNA that is modified unnaturally. More commonly, GMOs are cross-breaded in ways that make them resistant to pesticides or produce insecticide to fight micro-organisms. In every way, such food may be harmful to your health.
Simple ways to identify organic food
Food appearance: if you see in the market food that is labelled organic, do check if they look identical. When grown naturally or organically, no two similar food items will look identical. For example, no two leaves of mango will look 100% similar. In the same way, you can check other fruits like apple and guava. Organic food shape, colour and structure can never be uniform. For example, shades of cereals may differ from one package to the other as compared to regular cereals that look alike.
Food size: just like you have checked food appearance, food size will also confirm whether the food is organic or not. While it makes us feel good after seeing huge sized capsicum or potato, it is not safe to serve them on your plate. Of course, few organic foods can grow in large sizes, but they are difficult to find and is very rare.
Insect check: well, we do not like bugs and insects in our food storage boxes but in the case of identifying organic food, insects are a good sign. Naturally, grown food is free from insecticide and preservatives which means, insects can easily grow in such food. So, do not jump over if you see a worm rather wash them thoroughly and sun-dry it if you seek to have naturally grown food. You will be amazed to know that food insect never contaminates your food but insecticides do. So, the next time you find an insect on any of your veggies or fruits, just wash them in saltwater that will remove germs and residues.
Food taste: obviously, natural food will taste much better than modified or unnaturally grown food. Whenever you cook organic food, you will observe that you require fewer spices since their natural flavours taste better. Similarly, fruits grown organically produces tastier juice since they ripen in the tree as compared to local fruits which are ripened during their shelf life. Today, the proverb ‘an apple a day is probably useful for organically grown apples only.
Smell identification: the smell or aroma of organic food is very different and potent. For instance, organic spices will have a stronger flavour and aroma since they retain their oil substances. Most of the non-organic spices available in the market today have oil extracted. Since they are devoid of any kind of natural oils, they become less healthy and adulterated. Similarly, organic fruits will have a good fragrance and can be found easily when kept in the house.
Organic food is cooked faster: if the food is grown organically, you will realise that the time taken for cooking is much lesser as compared to other food. This means, food having pesticides and preservatives need more time for cooking thereby making you cook for longer periods.
Certification: Before checking any of the above-mentioned criteria’s, please go through the label that mentions preservatives in the food. Many food preservatives contain petroleum which surely no one would try to consume. Many countries have specific norms regarding organic food labelling. Do check code and certifications which are provided by food inspection agencies to that food only which are grown organically.