There is a lot of debate as to whether or not one should “go organic”. From a nutritional standpoint, there have been many studies conducted attempting to ascertain whether or not food grown organically is more nutritious than non-organic food. The general consensus thus far indicates that organic food isn’t necessarily more or less nutritious than conventionally produced food. This is good news for the budget and nutrition conscious among us. That said, there are several other reasons to consider going organic….
Consider Your Toxic Load
While foods grown organically and non-organically are relatively similar in terms of nutritional value, non-organic foods do expose our bodies to fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, and artificial flavors and sweeteners to name just a few. All of these agents contribute to a greater toxic load in the body, also known as body burden, which is a huge stressor to your mental state, your immune system, and other bodily systems. Exposure to these can cause lasting effects on development, metabolism and health. These can impact the body so profoundly that it can permanently alter the gene expression of an individual.
Decreased Antibiotic Resistance
A study conducted by the Maryland School of Public Health (MSPH) found that when the addition of antibiotics in animal feed is stopped, bacterial resistance quickly declines. Don’t think antibiotic resistance is a big deal? Ever heard of MRSA?
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is the type Staph infection that is resistant to the antibiotic Methicillin. Prior to MRSA, Methicillin was the antibiotic used to treat Staph infections that weren’t responding to regular antibiotics. The MSPH study proved that the simple removal of antibiotics from livestock feed can reduced antibiotic resistance in a single generation by at least 30% and in some cases up to 80%. This is hugely significant because antibiotic resistance can very easily spread from one species of bacteria to another, and in the process, from animals to humans. Therefore, consuming organically raised meat and poultry can reduce your exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
What about the Environment?
Where most marketing around organic food would have you believe that the biggest benefit of “going organic” is a nutritional advantage (see above – that’s actually not the case), it turns out the environment may be the biggest reason to consider purchasing more organic food. Organic systems use less fertilizer, herbicides, and overall energy than conventional farming. They also have more fertile soil and help prevent carbon from entering our atmosphere by putting carbon filled manure (as fertilizer) down into the earth that would otherwise site out exposed to the air.
While published literature currently lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more or less nutritious than conventional foods. Consuming organic foods will reduce your exposure to pesticide residues, your risk of antibiotic resistance, and help save the environment.