Why We Need to Recognize and Consider Organic Foods

Adam McMahon
May 7, 2018 · 5 min read

The safer and healthier option

The advertisement of broccoli in the “Go Organic” series ads displays the chemical found in the food to raise awareness for consumers of chemicals found in traditional foods. Image: Marissa Brassfield from Chemical- Centric Campaigns

We all want to eat healthy and safe across the world. But what foods do we look for when eating healthy and safely? Is it the nutrition labels, or is it something you watched on TV that caught your attention? Looking at the organic label is what most of us don’t usually look at, and it is important for us to recognize that piece when purchasing foods due to its nutritional and safety benefits it possess.

A study from the British Journal of Nutrition indicated that fifty percent more omega-3 fatty acids were found in organic meat and dairy products than in conventional products that improve immune function, neurological development, and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, the study showed organic foods contain fifty percent more antioxidants than conventional foods that prevent inflammation and supply cell protection to fight of diseases. “Taken together, the studies on crops, meat, and milk suggests that a switch to organic fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy products would provide significantly higher amounts of dietary antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids,” said Carlo Leifert, an agriculture professor at Newcastle University.

According to Annals of Internal Medicine, organic foods have higher rates of phenols and vaccenic acid that are crucial in preventing cancer and fighting off disease. They also found 3 or more bacteria resistant antibiotics in conventional meat compared to organic foods.

Research conducted by Stanford University compared organic foods to conventional foods and found only 7 pesticides in organic products to 38 percent of pesticides in conventional products.

Organic foods contain less harmful chemicals or none at all compared to conventional foods that makes us sick. Pesticides are linked to having chronic health effects such as cancer (brain, liver, etc.), Parkinson’s Disease, Fertility, and Endocrine disruption that can make us sick and could eventually lead to death.

The graphs above from the Journal of Organic systems show the death rates of Parkinson’s disease and Renal disease among people being exposed to GMOs in corn and soy products. The rate gradually increases over time as the number of GMOs found in soy and corn crops increase (the blue line).

Dr. Oz demonstrates a photo comparing an organic peach to a conventional peach and found only two pesticides in the organic peach compared to the seven in the conventional peach. He also emphasizes the need to unaware parents who have children that children have less vulnerable brains that can affect their growth at a young age if they consumer these harmful chemicals.

This leads into how parents have expressed the concern in themselves and their children consuming foods that contain these harmful chemicals. Parents (especially pregnant women) purchase organic foods due to less pesticide exposure in which pesticides can lower growth levels of children, and if a pregnant women is exposed to pesticides, it can lower the IQ levels of their child, according to Dr. Alan Greene and Anna Lappe.

Greene also did a three year long process of consuming just organic foods. As a result, he felt less sick, woke up with more energy, and his urine was a bright yellow from consuming more vitamins and minerals. He also realized how organic foods were very unknown to many people.

“ It’s surprising to me how few people know that organic means without pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones,” Greene said. Also, he mentions whenever he was at a restaurant he would ask if they have anything organic, and the common response he would get was, “ Do you mean vegetarian?”

This is the main problem when we discuss about organic foods. The reason why we do not look at the organic label is because we generally don’t know what “organic” means. We may either have a positive opinion about organic foods, but we do not know what the true impacts of organic foods bring.

With that being said, the government needs to address these impacts of organic foods to us. In recent past, we have seen outbreaks and people getting diagnosed with diseases due to harmful chemicals found in conventional foods. These harmful chemicals and pesticides have been linked to liver disease, impacting the growth rates of children, Parkinson’s disease, etc. But we don’t know that organic produce contains none or rarely of these chemicals and can possess some nutrition benefits as well.

Some consumers have said they would buy traditional foods rather than organic foods because they are cheaper, but if they knew the impacts of organic foods, their minds will most likely change on what to buy.

Choosing organic foods is the right choice for eating healthier and safer even though the government does a horrendous job of addressing the impacts of organic foods to the public. You will feel better about yourself knowing you are not being exposed to pesticides or to your children not being exposed to pesticides as well. Keep in mind of the risk factors that are associated with pesticides, such as having a great risk of liver disease and negative effects on the brain.

References:

Aubrey, A. (2016, February 18). Is Organic More Nutritious? New Study Adds To The Evidence. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/02/18/467136329/is-organic-more-nutritious-new-study-adds-to-the-evidence

Fung, B. (2012, September 04). Organic Food Isn’t More Nutritious, but That Isn’t the Point. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/09/organic-food-isnt-more-nutritious-but-that-isnt-the-point/261929/

Brandeau, M. L., Hunter, G. E., Bavinger, J. C., Pearson, M., Eschbach, P. J., Sundaram, V., . . . Bravata, D. M. (2012, September 04). Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review. Retrieved from https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/1355685/organic-foods-safer-healthier-than-conventional-alternatives-systematic-review

D. (2014, July 22). Effect of Pesticides on Human Health and Wellbeing. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShJ16F1svjk

Greene, D. A., & Lappé, A. (2014, June 23). Why Organic Is the Right Choice for Parents. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from http://time.com/2914155/organic-food-children-health/

Parker-Pope, T. (2008, December 02). One man’s 3-year experiment in eating organic food — all the time. Retrieved March 07, 2018, from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/health/04iht-snparker.1.18329349.html

Hjelmar, U. (2010, December 28). Consumers purchase of organic food products. A matter of convenience and reflexive practices. Retrieved March 08, 2018, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666310008457

E. (2013, June 13). The Danger of Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables to Children and Adults. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju4Cl3mm_ik

Brassfield, M. (2010, June 07). Chemical-Centric Campaigns : Go organic series by Vanessa Heckman. Retrieved April 30, 2018, from https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/go-organic-series-by-vanessa-heckman

Swanson, L., Leu, A., Abrahamson, J., Wallet, B. (2014). Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America. Retrieved April 30, 2018, from http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/JOS_Volume-9_Number-2_Nov_2014-Swanson-et-al.pdf

Adam McMahon

Written by

Adam McMahon is college student studying Kinesiology. He wrote this piece of paper for his English class.

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