Many people approach the organic for environmental reasons, ethical or to improve their well-being. But what are the health benefits of eating bio?
The organic food industry tends to grow a little around the world and many people are approaching what is considered a more natural food as it is produced without using chemicals and respecting the cycles of the earth. Even organic farms, for those who eat meat or dairy products, undoubtedly offer better products. This obviously has advantages for our health as well, irrespective of the nutritional values in organic products we are sure (frauds permitting) to have products without GMOs, without pesticides or hormones. Let’s try to list, scientific research in hand, the advantages of choosing organic.
We avoid (at least in part) exposure to pesticides and heavy metals
Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers. These chemicals have been considered “safe” in the quantities used for conventional agriculture, but health experts warn about the potential damage they can actually do if exposure is constant and especially on certain categories of people such as children and pregnant women. . An example that we all know is Roundup, the well-known herbicide commonly used but classified as “probable carcinogen” but also the Clorpirifos, neurotoxic insecticide associated with delays in the development of newborns. Some studies have also suggested that pesticide residues, at levels commonly present in the urine of children in the United States, can contribute to the increase of attention disorders and hyperactivity as well as reduce sperm quality in men.
A 2014 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organic crops were not only less likely to contain pesticides but, due to differences in fertilization techniques, they were also less likely to be positive to cadmium, toxic heavy metal which accumulates in the liver and kidneys.
More healthy fats
As for meat and milk, produced according to the dictates of organic, these can have about 50% more of precious Omega-3 fatty acids compared to conventional products. To say a 2016 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The organic milk tested in the study also found a lower presence of saturated fats compared to standard products.
These differences, according to the researchers, can derive from the way cattle are bred, mainly thanks to a grass based diet and the possibility for the animals to spend more time outdoors. It is also argued that switching from conventional products to organic products would increase the consumption of Omega-3 by consumers without increasing overall calories or saturated fats.
No antibiotic or synthetic hormone
Always talking about biological farms, it should be noted that it is forbidden to use antibiotics in the preventive phase to protect animals from any diseases. This trick, among other things, is precisely what allows traditional breeding to keep the animals very close to each other, in a situation of overcrowding and consequently in precarious health conditions (if you do not use the antibiotics that make safe from real and their epidemics). Among other things, this practice of using antibiotics indiscriminately is contributing to a very serious phenomenon that of resistance and mutation of some bacteria that become precisely “resistant” to drugs that previously contributed to eradicate them.
Conventionally bred animals can also undergo increased growth thanks to synthetic hormones that make them gain weight faster or produce more milk. Traces of these substances can obviously be found in products of animal origin that we consume if they are not organic.
More antioxidants (in some cases)
In a study a few years ago appeared in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that organic onions had about 20% more antioxidant content than traditional onions. They also theorized that previous analyzes, many of which did not find differences in conventional levels compared to biological antioxidants, may have been hindered by too short evaluation periods or by confusing variables such as time.
But the reasons for choosing biological are also others and do not concern only our health. In fact, the benefits go well beyond the nutritional discourse. It is a mainly ethical choice, both for environmental factors (biological crops are not intensive, do not use pesticides harmful to the earth and safeguard biodiversity) and for animal welfare (organic farms, at least on paper, are a bit ‘more sustainable as the animals in addition to receiving a bio food also have more vital spaces).
It is also important to remember that the concept of organic is diametrically opposite to that of GMOs and that therefore choosing to eat bio we take a very precise position regarding genetically modified foods.