Studies have also shown organic milk contains significantly more vitamin E and beta-carotene, an antioxidant that our body converts to vitamin A. The scientists say one of the reasons that milk from organic cows is so good is because they eat a much more natural diet, grazing freely on fresh grass and clover. In comparison, most non-organic cows eat a more grain-based diet containing cereals, maize and protein supplements.
We all know the importance of getting our five-a-day, but eating five organic fruit and vegetables a day is even better. A non-organic apple can be sprayed up to 16 times with 36 different chemicals, many of which cannot simply be washed off. The latest Government tests, found pesticides in 80% of non-organic apple samples.
Some pesticides can be stored in our body's fatty tissues for years, raising concern about them being carcinogenic (cancer causing), mutagenic (causing birth defects) and neurotoxic (damaging to our nervous system). As organic farmers predominantly use natural methods to control pests, choosing organic is the best way to avoid pesticides in your food.
Fewer toxins and more nutrients - clinical and observational evidence in humans suggests that organic food, with fewer toxins and more nutrients can make a difference to our health. But it's difficult to do controlled studies with people because of complicating factors like genes and lifestyle. However, in controlled animal feeding trials, the evidence is clear animals fed organically produced feed are healthier in terms of growth, reproductive health and recovery from illness than those fed on non-organic feed, even over successive generations.
More nutrients and less water - artificial fertilizers increase the water content of fruit and vegetables. Although this method may produce bigger yields, it dilutes the nutrient content of fruit and vegetables.
More minerals and more vitamin C - research comparing the nutrient contents of organic and non-organic fruit and vegetables reveals a strong trend toward higher levels in organic produce. Of 27 valid comparisons of the mineral and vitamin C contents of organic and non-organic crops, 14 showed significantly higher levels in organic produce while just one favored non-organic.
More protective antioxidants - plants contain some 5,000 to 10,000 naturally occurring compounds (known as phytonutrients) that are often involved in protecting the plant from pests and diseases. Because organic crops are not artificially protected with pesticides they tend to produce more naturally occurring phytonutrients, many of which are now known to have protective antioxidant properties. Some are proving useful in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Fewer pesticide residues - these are rarely found on organic food. In contrast, pesticides are found on one in three non-organic foods tested each year, and multiple residues of up to seven different compounds are not uncommon. Pesticide safety is tested for individual compounds, but we know very little about the 'cocktail effect' of multiple residues. Some research suggests that they may be hundreds of times more toxic than the same compounds individually.
Fewer food additives - while food manufacturers can use more than 500 additives, organic food processors are prohibited from using a host of ingredients that researchers say may be harmful to our health such as aspartame, hydrogenated fat, phosphoric acid, sulfur dioxide, monosodium glutamate, or artificial flavorings and colorings.
Buying organics makes sense for the socially responsible shopper
Buying organics makes sense for the socially responsible shopper because when you do, you're using your purchasing power to vote for the health of the earth and the people on it. Organic agriculture is a method of growing and processing that protects rather than depletes natural resources. It also spares the growers from significant health risks.
Organic agriculture requires a different mindset than conventional modern agriculture. Conventional agriculture focuses on pushing resources to obtain maximum yield. This focus was developed for a good reason--20th-century farmers need to feed an ever-growing number of hungry mouths. But what produces tremendous yield in the short run can be harmful to the land in the long run and may eventually jeopardize its ability to produce. Planting the same crop year after year, as is done in conventional farming, can deplete the soil of its nutrients and encourage infestations of harmful weeds and pests. Conventional farming methods erode over 30 billion tons of topsoil from US croplands each year. Organic farming instead uses earth-friendly pest control methods like crop rotation and beneficial insects. Organic farmers work to replenish and preserve the land for future generations, building the soil by using composted manure and crop diversification.
Your guarantee that a product is organic is its certification. To qualify for this designation, an organic farmer must maintain and document organic practices for three years. After this time, the certifying agency the farmer has chosen to work with sends an inspector to the site to approve the operation and grant the certification. The farmer maintains the organic status by keeping thorough records of soil and water testing; crop rotations; weed, insect and disease controls; a crop field lot number system; and records of agreements with neighboring landowners and county officials about spraying in the vicinity.
The more organic we all go, the better for our environment and future generations. Buying organically produced food and products sends a clear message to retailers and the government about your preference for organic food. Go Organic Today!
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