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cowThe Benefits of Organic
Popularity and awareness of organic food has steadily grown. However from time to time a study is published which contradicts the benefits of commercial versus organically grown produce which can be discouraging. This is why I have written this article to help clarify some of the key points.

Is the research reliable?
Because a research study is published in a journal, newspaper or appears on television, sadly this gives no indication of the validity of the study or the conclusions made (this applies also to medical literature). For example: The British Soil Association analysed 109 studies of the comparison between organic and commercial produce. Only 27 of the 109 studies analysed were considered to be scientifically valid. Many tested fresh conventional produce and compared the nutrient values to imported organic produce considered 'stale' at the time of testing. Of the 27 studies scientifically valid, all showed organic produce to have significantly higher nutrient levels. Another good analysis was performed by Dr Virginia Worthington, who reviewed 1,230 published comparisons. She also found many studies to be invalid due to the testing methods. The valid studies similarly showed larger levels of nutrients in organic produce.

Nutrient Values
Without going into the depths of soil science when you look into the requirements for healthy plants you will see they require many nutrients most of which are provided by soil micro-organisms. These soil micro-organisms create a substance called humus and in turn feed it to the plants to grow healthily and disease resistant. On any commercial field there is an average 85% reduction in these essential micro-organisms. With this considered it is my opinion that it is impossible for commercial produce to be more nutritious than fresh organic produce.

Secondary Nutrients
Typically when looking at nutrient values we refer to primary nutrients (water, protein, fiber, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals). However there is between 5,000-10,000 known secondary nutrients present in organic food which is believed to have benefits including disease prevention.

Non-organic linked with over eating
One of the largest studies on organic food entitled 'The Haughley Experiment' found that cows fed organically ate less and produced higher quality milk. Many human studies have shown that a common reason for people consuming in excess is due to a lack of nutrition in ones diet. The body has built in mechanisms to determine nutrient levels. If we consume food low in nutrition the body says 'keep eating, I need more nutrition' which often leads to feeling stuffed but still feeling hungry.

 

Fewer Toxins
Organic food is produced without pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides and chemical fertilizers. It's not genetically modified. It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs. It does not contain artificial anything, nor any preservatives. Volumes of research dating back over 60 years shows the risks of these chemicals to our health and the environment. It's important to mention that if someone consumes a chemical below a 'safe level' but has a plate full of different chemically covered food and you eat 3+ meals a day, when added together this will frequently take someone into the 'harmful level'.

What should I look for on food labels?organicorganic food label
Look out for terms such as '100% organic', 'Certified Organic'. Also look for either the 'Soil Association' or 'Demeter' logo. They go beyond the government's minimum standards for organic food in many areas, like animal welfare and farming methods. The Soil Association also awards a 'Food for Life' mark to restaurants, cafés and caterers who are making efforts to use fresh, seasonal, local and organic ingredients.

Is organic more expensive?
Less than you would think and in terms of the nutritional gain per pound spent, organic food is actually is much cheaper. Look into organic box schemes. Organic boxes are typically delivered to your home and are fresher and often cheaper than purchasing from the supermarket. We are privileged in Essex to also have great farmers markets. If you cannot afford organic food try to purchase as high quality a possible. Free range butchers and small farms are always going to be better than large commercial producers
Some useful websites includes: www.mercola.com www.soilassociation.org www.organic–research.com

Remember every cell in your body is made from what you eat. We make 2 million blood cells per second so the highest quality food to fit your budget will always help support your body for good health.

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