Is it a natural conclusion to assume organic foods have more nutrients than conventionally grown foods? Organic foods are all the buzz. Their popularity on store shelves and restaurant menus has significantly escalated. This elevated hype is driven by the assumption that organic foods are the healthier option? But what if they are not? It’s time to raise the question.
There are many beliefs regarding organic foods. Some accurate, though many are only partly so. Being heavily interested in this topic for personal food production and also being a resource for patients, I had to dive into what constitutes organic. Many will call organic free of herbicides and pesticides. Admittedly, you and I both have likely made that assumption at times. Turns out we are wrong.
You must first understand that not all herbicides and pesticides are created equally. We mistakenly lump everything into the same category. Think of pesticides as conventional and non-conventional. Regarding conventional pesticides and herbicides, the best advice I can give you comes down to one word. Run! Get as far away from them as possible less you desire their ill effects.
Non-conventional herbicides and pesticides are different. While not recommended for human consumption directly, they are safe and effective. Many are used right up until the time of harvest. Logically, due to reduced toxicity, more applications are often necessary. If you thought organic foods had no or fewer herbicides and pesticides applied to them, the reality is they have more. Neem and orange oil being two commonly used oils.
Do organic foods have more nutrients? The answer to this question may appear a simple yes. However, before jumping to a final conclusion, I feel compelled to reveal a few overlooked points.
On one hand, organic foods have more nutrients. Many toxic, synthetic chemicals to kill weeds and bugs work by limiting how nutrients are used. Ultimately this means fewer nutrients in your food. Thankfully, organic foods avoid this. Great, so eating organic means eating more nutritious, correct?
Not so fast. Let’s not overlook the soil food is grown in. This is a significant factor. In fact, likely the most significant factor why organic foods have more nutrients or not. Many soils across our country have been stripped of their nutrients. Not letting the land rest and repetitive farming are detrimental to land resources and nutrients. Giving nutrients time to concentrate and nourish plant growth is critical to get not just an organic food, but a nutritious one.
The number one goal of food consumption is to derive nutrients from it. Avoiding chemicals is essential to avoid their toxic effects. So, while you do avoid this hazard with organic foods, don’t inherently make the false belief that you are also getting the best nutrients.
After years of testing thousands of patient’s nutrient status, I have too often seen that even those eating organic still do not have sufficient nutrients to meet their needs.
Still my favorite option for eating nutritious organic food is your local farmer. Ask them how they increase the nutrients in their soil. Do they compost? Fertilize? Or have their own novel method? Often times they are taking the time to fortify their soil and not exhaust its resources, delivering not just organically grown food, but organically grown, chemical-free food with the nutrients to sustain your health.