The Health Benefits of Organic Food
The rise of the organic movement
The term “Organic Farming” was first coined by Lord Northbourne in 1940, however the beginnings of the organic movement began in the early 1900s in response to the shift towards industrial agriculture and synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and pesticides. A small group of farmers from around the world came together and eventually formed the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). Thanks to the Federation and other consumer and farming groups, extensive scientific research has concluded that conventional farming has negative effects on health. This is because of the practices used in conventional farming, which can include the use of herbicides, pesticides and synthetic chemical fertilisers, as well as excessive and intensive irrigation and tillage. This information includes:
- A 2014 meta-analysis from Newcastle University that found organic food contains significantly higher levels of antioxidants compared to conventional crops - some as much as 69% higher.
- A 2014 meta-analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition that found organically grown crops were not only less likely to contain detectable amounts of pesticides, but because of differences in fertilisation techniques, they were also 48% less likely to test positive for cadmium, a toxic heavy metal that accumulates in the liver and kidneys.
- A 2016 study in the British Journal of Nutrition which showed that when it comes to meat and milk, organic products can have about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic.
- A six-year study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that suggested organic onions have 20% higher antioxidant content than conventionally grown onions.
- A study in the journal Pediatrics which showed that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be linked with pesticide residue in food.
- A study published in the journal Human Reproduction that showed that pesticide residues left on fruits and vegetables can lower fertility and have a harmful effect on sperm.The list of studies goes on, and most point to the fact that organic is always better. In short, encouraging your children to eat organic means…
What are the health benefits of organic food?
1. Fewer toxins
Organic food, as you would expect, has significantly fewer pesticides and other residues. Unlike conventional farming, organic farming doesn’t use fungicides, herbicides and insecticides that can be harmful to your child’s health. Nor does it use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods, whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or traditional crossbreeding. Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal by-products.
2. A healthier immune system
In animal testing, genetically modified food showed a major reduction in immune system strength, an increase in birth mortality, as well as in certain sexual dysfunctions, cancers, and sensitivity to allergens. Making tomatoes six times larger as a possible option for solving world hunger might seem like a great idea, but there is another side to it.
3. Fresher food
Foods produced using organic farming processes don’t contain preservatives and require more intensive labour. It’s because of this that organic produce generally comes from small farms close to where it’s being sold, making it fresher and better tasting.
4. Environmental safety
Because organic farming doesn’t use harmful chemicals, there is minimal soil, air, and water pollution. This ensures a safe and healthier world for future generations to live in. Organic farming is better for the environment, as well as the people and animals living nearby farms. For example, it’s more water and energy efficient, emits less pollution, and helps to maintain higher quality soils that don’t rely on pesticides that can be fatal for animals.
5. Animal welfareIn order to produce organic products such as milk, meat, poultry and fish, the welfare of animals needs to be maintained. This means a better way of life for them and better quality produce for you. For example, an increased amount of time grazing on grass increases the amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a heart-healthy fatty acid that boosts cardiovascular protection.
Where to now for organic farming?With the benefits listed above and the growing body of evidence showing organic food is better than conventionally produced food, you can expect that the organic movement will continue to grow. Farmers use organic practices to maintain healthy soils free from disease, weeds, and pest. This involves avoiding chemical additives and instead using more natural processes like crop rotation. It’s a way for many farmers to keep up with consumer demand and according to Andre Leu, President of IFOAM, 200,000 organic farmers become newly certified each year. Organic farming addresses issues that are important to consumers, which regular farming doesn’t consider. For example, organic farming has lower energy consumption and use of pesticides, as well as less of an environmental impact and contribution to climate change. For both farmers and consumers, the future of organic food looks bright. This is great news, as the more we ask for organic, the more available it becomes. For our kids, this could mean that organic eating is an affordable part of everyday life, as it should be. Offer your child a pure start to life with uncomplicated nutrition and good food that is nutritious and wholesome. Bellamy’s Organic offers a range of organic food and formula products for babies, toddlers and young children, with over 30 products in our range from birth to early childhood. You can shop online or click here to find your nearest stockist.