What is Organic Food?
Organic foods are an entire class of produce, meats and other products that are produced in accordance with stringent federal guidelines to ensure that the foods are as close to naturally grown as possible. The purpose of organic food is to present a family with the option of eating products that are free from industrial processes that could change some aspect of the structure of the food to make it less nutritious or even harmful in certain cases. A number of health benefits can be gained by choosing organic foods over those that are processed or grown in industrial environments.
The most popular and widely available type of organic food is produce. Fruits and vegetables that are grown organically meet a number of requirements in order to bear the organic label. The produce must be grown in natural soil without the use of harmful pesticides, growth enhancers or harsh chemical fertilizers that could leach toxic substances into the plants. Organic fruits and vegetables also cannot be grown from genetically modified seeds when possible. This combination of agricultural practices results in produce that is free from industrial chemicals. The fruits and vegetables also have a more natural balance of nutrients as opposed to genetically modified foods that are often depleted of certain nutrients.
Organic foods are free from chemicals and are harvested with sustainable and environmentally friendly techniques. This results in produce that must be transported quickly to a location for sale or use. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are eaten within a few hours or days of harvest contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals that foods that are frozen or treated with carbon dioxide for transport and storage. A diet that includes a large amount of organic produce will ultimately make a person healthier.
Some meats can also be labeled as organic. This generally means that the animals are raised without the use of growth hormones or other chemicals and treatments that could leave harmful substances in the meat. Most organic meats also use ethical guidelines for the treatment of the animals. Almost more than produce, organic meats make a huge difference in the nutritional value and taste of a meal. Organic meat from animals that are raised on natural grass and grain is healthier than meat from animals that are raised on industrial feed products.
Prepared and Packaged Food
Prepared foods can be organic if they contain almost all organic products. This means that nearly every part of a canned soup or frozen meal will have to be organic before it is combined and packaged. Organic prepared foods are very different from non-organic processed foods that undergo extensive cooking, re-cooking and canning. Traditional processed foods also often contain a number of chemical flavor enhances and a huge amount of salt. Organic prepared foods are almost always a much healthier choice than overly processed food products.
Overall, organic foods are healthier than processed foods for a number of reasons. Even though some organic produce have the same nutritional profile as a non-organic counterpart, the natural growing methods and fast path to store shelves make the organic version friendlier to the body. Great care and attention is paid to the foods that organic farmers raise so there is less of a chance for bacterial contaminants in the food. Most importantly, organic food is not processed with industrial chemicals and machinery that can leave residue on the food that could be harmful or trigger allergies.