You know you should eat organic. Strolling through the produce section, green signs and badges alert you to the presence of natural, pesticide-free products that are better for your health. But many people, while they understand organic is supposed to be better, aren’t sure why. And lacking a good reason to pay a significantly increased prices, opt to go the cheaper route.
That, however, is not a good idea. Studies the world over show that organic food is better for you, leads to lower incidents of disease and provides a more enjoyable dining experience. From the very young, whose systems are sensitive to chemicals and need extra-special treatment, to the very old, who need excellent nutrition and a lack of chemicals in order to fight disease, it’s a good idea to eat organic.
But in what way, exactly? Here are 10 good reasons to start eating organic today.
Less Toxic Carcinogens Such as Roundup
Roundup is a chemical that can lead to all sorts of health problems, and has been linked to cancer in studies. (1) The World Health Organization recently declared it a carcinogen, and there is now little doubt in anyone’s mind that this commonly used pesticide can cause a wide variety of cancers, stemming from cell disruption and damage to DNA. These mutations are responsible for out-of-control cell growth and metabolic malfunction, which results in disease and fatalities.
By eating organic, you automatically avoid a great deal of Roundup exposure. Since it is prohibited for use in organic foods, you will cut out all consumption of the chemical – as well as the supposedly “inert” but often damaging ingredients that also exist in the formulation.
More Healthy Fats
Despite the vilification of fats over the last 60 years, the body needs them to function well. Luckily, eating organic markedly improves your healthy fat intake … decreases the incidence of unhealthy counterparts.
According to studies, “When it comes to meat and milk, organic products can have about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated healthy fat, than conventionally produced products” and “Organic milk tested in the study also had less saturated fat than non-organic.” (2) This is especially important for people who have children and want to protect them.
Antibiotics are a major concern these days. We rely on them to combat all sorts of terrible old-world diseases that used to kill people on mass. Used to prevent and address bacterial infections after surgery or as a result of injury or illness, we rely heavily on these wonder-medicines.
Unfortunately, widespread use of antibiotics endangers that reliance. By using them more than necessary, we encourage bacteria to develop resistance to our antibiotics, even trusted ones such as penicillin. Constant exposure also makes people more susceptible to antibiotic resistance, which can mean serious consequences if they need them to work later in life.
Lowered Cancer Risk
Did you know that eating organic can reduce the chances that you get cancer? Considering this is the No. 2 killer in the United States, clocking only behind heart disease, that’s pretty powerful. The New York Times reports that “In a study, those who ate more organic produce, dairy, meat and other products had 25 percent fewer cancer diagnoses over all, especially lymphoma and breast cancer.” (3)
This is no small-scale study, either. It covers 70,000 participants over five years. It found that those who consumed organic foods most frequently had a reduction in cancer incidence of a full 25 percent. While there’s no guarantee of causation (and it’s likely that correlation plays at least some part, as participants were likely to have taken other positive health measures as well), this is telling.
Encourage Other Good Habits
As stated above, causation and correlation are not the same thing. Taking positive steps to achieve positive results can work in more than one way, though, even if causation is not directly at work. For instance, eating organic foods gives people a sense of accomplishment they can use to their benefit. Funnel those feel-good benefits towards other positive change, such as:
- Walking daily to benefit the heart and ramp up metabolism
- Cleaning one’s environment to lead to a clutter-free existence, which leads to greater mental serenity (4)
Fewer Synthetic Hormones
Synthetic hormones are a serious problem in today’s world. According to TIME Magazine, “with the exception of poultry, conventionally raised animals can also be injected with synthetic growth hormones, so they’ll gain weight faster or produce more milk.” (5) Hormones, unfortunately, are linked with major downsides in human development.
In young children, it can cause them to go through puberty earlier, with some reports finding that girls begin to develop breasts under the age of 10. Older adults are at risk as well, since hormone disruption puts them at risk of breast cancer and other diseases.
Reduced Consumption of Heavy Metals
Heavy metals are necessary for some aspects of metabolism, but can also prove toxic in the wrong amounts or when the wrong substances enter our bodies. As one study reports, “Heavy metal toxicity has proven to be a major threat and there are several health risks associated with it. The toxic effects of these metals, even though they do not have any biological role, remain present in some or the other form harmful for the human body and its proper functioning.” (6)
Unfortunately, pesticides and other chemicals contain larger concentrations of heavy metals, which disrupt the body, than do organic foods.
Increased Incidence of Fruits and Vegetables
Again, correlation and not causation is likely at work here. However, those who eat organic have an anecdotally higher likelihood of eating whole foods. Ask people who focus on getting pesticide-free foods into their diets and you will notice that they spend more time cooking and preparing food. Even those who don’t tend to steer toward salads and other fresh foods that deliver a nutrient punch.
By putting organic foods on your list more often, you will likely gravitate toward the produce section and away from those inner aisles of the grocery store, where all the packaged foods are located. Since these are the ones that contain GMO ingredients and laboratory-made chemicals, you’re doing yourself a major favor.
Support of Organizations That Help the World
Organic farming operations use fewer, if any, chemicals. That’s not only better for humans … it’s better for wildlife, waterways, the atmosphere and much more. By refusing to buy conventional foods, or buying far fewer of them, consumers can also benefit the world as a whole.
Healthier and Happier Animals
For those who care about animals, which is most people, going organic is an important move. Non-organic operations that rely on hormones and antibiotics to treat their animals must do so because they are confined in small spaces and therefore much more susceptible to disease. However, a less-considered outcome of such situations is severe misery on the part of the animal. By opting for organic, you have a much greater chance of contributing to animal welfare in your daily life.
This isn’t to say that everyone must execute a full-on switch to organic tomorrow or risk severe consequences. That’s not the case, and multiple studies show that eating whole foods – organic or not – is the most important dietary switch one can make. However, choosing products that are free from unnatural chemicals and hormones comes right behind that. Increasing the percentage of organic food in one’s diet is critical for long-term health and longevity, so don’t wait to start taking those baby steps today.
- (1) Widely Used Herbicide Linked to Cancer. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer/
- (2) Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic. (2017). Retrieved from http://time.com/4871915/health-benefits-organic-food/
- (3) Can Eating Organic Food Lower Your Cancer Risk? (2018). Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/well/eat/can-eating-organic-food-lower-your-cancer-risk.html
- (4) Seeking Serenity: A Life Less Cluttered. (2011). Retrieved from http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/16/seeking-serenity-a-life-less-cluttered/
- (5) Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic. (2017). Retrieved from http://time.com/4871915/health-benefits-organic-food/
- (6) Toxicity, Mechanism and Health Effects of Some Heavy Metals. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4427717/