What is Organic Food? Is It More Beneficial? Here’s the Definitive Answer
Organic foods. You’ve probably already heard the term in supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and all over the Internet.
Nowadays, almost every brand sells organic foods, and every day more and more celebs and influencers swear by its benefits. But is it really worth the extra bucks or is it just another thing everyone is obsessed with for no reason?
The definitive answer may surprise you! Let’s unwrap what is organic food and take a closer look at this growing trend. Keep reading!
What does organic mean?
When people hear the word "organic," they often think about all the veggies and fruits that are grown on farms. And, while it's true that organic food tends to be grown through organic agriculture, there's a lot more to the story than that.
In the most basic sense, organic refers to anything that is not man-made. This includes things like fruits and vegetables, which are grown without the use of harmful chemicals; and even organic meat and dairy products that come from animals that were raised in a natural environment and fed an organic diet. So basically, it's food that's as close to its natural state as possible.
Organic farming uses renewable resources and employ sustainable farming practices to produce crops. This means that organic foods are free of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. In addition, organic food is not genetically modified or irradiated.
By using fewer chemicals and relying on natural pesticides and other techniques to guarantee the quality of organic food products, organic foods are safer for humans and kinder to the environment.
Organic vs Non organic: What’s the difference?
Here's a quick rundown of the differences between these two types of food to help clear things up.
First, let's start with conventional food. This is the kind of food that you find in most grocery stores - it's grown using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and the animals are typically given growth hormones and antibiotics.
Organic food, on the other hand, is grown using natural methods and without any synthetic chemicals. The animals are also given more space to roam and are fed a natural diet.
In this sense, organic products are typically more expensive. This is because organic farmers must meet stricter standards for things like pesticide use and land management. In addition, this type of food often has a shorter shelf life than conventional products. This is because they are not treated with preservatives and other chemicals.
Finally, organic products tend to be smaller in size than non-organic food. This is because they are not subjected to the same kinds of genetic modification and growth hormones.
USDA Organic label: What does it actually mean?
The US. Department of Agriculture organic label is like a giant green sticker that says "this food is healthier for you, the environment, and the animals." Okay, maybe that's not exactly what it says. But it might as well, because that's what the USDA organic label stands for. Here's a quick breakdown of what the label means:
- Doesn’t contain harmful chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers
- Doesn’t contain hormones
- Doesn’t contain antibiotics
- It wasn’t genetically modified
In short, it means that the food product has been produced in accordance with the USDA organic regulations.
But, if you’ve ever been to the supermarket, you must have realized there’s not only one kind of USDA organic seal. So, what’s the difference? Let’s give you a quick rundown:
This label is used in those certified organic foods that only contain one ingredient, like fruits and veggies. Plus, it can also be used on products with a long list of ingredients as long as all of them are organically grown and produced.
The organic level means that at least 95% of the ingredients are certified organic. The product has many ingredients, some of which are made from organic production and the others come from a list given by the USDA, which means they are safe.
Made with organic
“Made with organic” means that at least 70% of the ingredients listed in the product you’re consuming are organic. A good example of this is a cookie made with organic almond flour, but also has conventionally-produced ingredients allowed by the USDA.
This type or organic certification requires the brand to list what are the organic ingredients the product contains and can’t have the USDA-certified organic seal.
This type of food contains less than 70% USDA-certified organic products and has conventionally-produced food.
According to the USDA Organic Certification Program, these foods can’t have the certified organic seal and have to list what are the organic ingredients included.
Is organic food better for you? 9 Benefits for human health
Organic foods have become quite popular in recent years, as more and more people strive to eat healthily. But why should you make the change and buy organic food? Here are our top 9 health benefits
Unlike conventional foods, which are often grown with the help of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, organic foods are grown using natural methods. This means that they retain more of their nutrient content, making them more beneficial for your health.
In addition, organic foods are also typically less processed than their conventional counterparts, meaning that they retain more of their natural goodness. That’s why organic produce food tends to contain more antioxidants and minerals that are good for the body
Contains healthier fats
Unlike conventional meat, organic meat contains more healthy fats than conventionally raised meat. Why? It all has to do with the diet of the animal. Organic farm animals are typically fed a diet of grass and hay, which is richer in omega-3 fatty acids than the grain-based diet of conventional animals.
As a result, animal products, like organic milk or meat, tend to be higher in Omega-3s and other healthy fats.
To be certified as organic, farms must adhere to strict standards that prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Instead, organic farming relies on natural methods to keep crops healthy and free of pests.
By reducing pesticide residue, organically grown crops have an overall lower level of toxicity in the environment and help to ensure that organic foods are less likely to contain harmful chemicals that can ultimately be toxic for humans.
Yes, organic food tastes better than conventionally grown foods!
This is because conventional farming practices rely heavily on pesticides and other chemicals to ward off pests and diseases. However, these pesticide residues and chemicals can also damage the flavor of fruits and vegetables.
In contrast, farmers use more natural methods to protect their organic crops, such as crop rotation and beneficial insects. As a result, organic foods are allowed to develop their full flavor potential, resulting in a tastier overall product.
Fewer chances of food poisoning
As you already know, organic products are grown without any harsh chemicals. This means that there is less chance of these harmful substances making their way into your food and causing you food poisoning.
Plus, organic foods are often produced in smaller batches, which helps to reduce the risk of contamination.
Organic foods are better for the environment because they are not grown with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. These chemicals can pollute the air, water, and soil, and they can also end up on your plate.
In addition, organic farming often uses sustainable growing practices that help to conserve resources and protect the environment. For example, they may use cover crops to improve soil quality or rotate crops to reduce the need for irrigation. In turn, organically-produced food offers a delicious way to reduce your impact on the planet.
Fresher than conventional foods
Organic food is far fresher than conventionally grown food, and there are a few reasons why. First of all, organic farming practices implement fewer pesticides and herbicides, which can cause fruit and vegetables to spoil more quickly. In the same way, the organic methods used by farmers ensure that the growing season is shorter. This means that the food is picked at its peak of ripeness, making it fresher and more flavorful.
Finally, organic food is typically sold directly to consumers, without going through a lengthy distribution process. This cuts down on the time between harvest and consumption, ensuring that the food is as fresh as possible.
Doesn’t contain GMOs
One of the main reasons that people choose to buy organic food is because they want to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are created when the genes from one species are artificially inserted into another, usually in an attempt to make the latter more resistant to disease or pests.
In this sense, organic food production is done without the use of GMOs and hormones, which are substances that make plants grow bigger or generate bigger fruits and vegetables. And, while there is no evidence that GMOs are harmful to human health, many people prefer to avoid them as a precautionary measure.
Stronger immune system
Thanks to the organic farming practices used to grow their crops, most organic foods are packed with high levels of antioxidants which, in turn, protect the immune system.
A great example of this is the production of organic matcha in comparison to conventional green tea. In this case, matcha in its purest form has 140 antioxidants, while conventional tea has fewer as a consequence of farming techniques.
In the same way, since organic foods don’t use any growth hormones and antibiotics, this type of food is less likely to cause immune resistance to certain medicines.
Is “organic” the same as “natural”?
Consumers are increasingly interested in buying “natural” and “organic” products. But what do these terms actually mean? And are they the same thing? Natural, it turns out, is a pretty vague term. According to the FDA, “natural” means that nothing artificial has been added to the product. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is healthy or even safe.
In contrast, organic products must meet specific standards set by the USDA. These standards cover everything from how the food is grown to how it is processed. So when you see a product labeled “organic,” you can be confident that it meets certain standards for safety and quality.
So, no. Natural and organic products are not the same!
Are organic foods healthier? The answer may surprise you
If we’re talking about commonly purchased organic foods, like veggies and fruits, then the answer is yes. As we said above, organic products are more nutritious and safer for human health than conventionally-grown food. Plus, they are a great addition to any healthy eating lifestyle
But, here’s the catch: not every organic food is healthier than regular food! Why? Because processed organic foods still contain a high level of fats, refined sugars, and sodium that can affect your health.
So, organic labels don’t always mean healthy and nutritious!
Where to buy organic foods?
So, now you know what is organic food and its amazing benefits not only for you, but also for environmental health. And now you must be eager to start investing in a safer, healthier lifestyle!
Organic foods generally can be found at the grocery store, farmers market, or are sold online by small businesses that focus on the quality of their crops and have very strict processes to guarantee a great product.
In this sense, an amazing way to start including organic foods in your diet is by adding organic matcha to your day-to-day. This delicious powder is loaded with antioxidants, catechins, minerals, and natural caffeine that will give your body everything it needs to have energy throughout the day without having to drink conventionally-made coffee!
So, if you’re ready to switch to the organic side and want to taste the best matcha powder, visit our store today!