Why should we be eating organic foods? Probably the most common reason is for personal health. People don’t want to be eating pesticides and chemicals, so they opt for the organic food to eat a cleaner diet.
But eating organic goes far beyond the pesticides and chemicals in your body. Yes, it’s great to choose organic because it means less chemicals on your plate, but what else does it mean? Here are three hidden benefits of eating organic:
1 | Better Soil Quality
Did you know that organic farming actually preserves and enriches our soil content with nutrients, while conventional farming commonly removes the nutrients from our soils without proper replenishment? In organic farming, farmers use techniques such as crop rotation, cover crops, and minimum tilling to preserve the quality of the soils and ensure that it is enriched with the vitamins and minerals essential to health. The more minerals and vitamins in our soils, the more minerals and vitamins in the crops we grow. In the end, we eat these plants and benefit from the good vitamin and mineral content.
If we look at nutrient content of fruits and vegetables from 50 years ago, we can see the difference that industrial farming has brought us. We’re eating a diluted version of what was once nutrient-dense, and much of that is thanks to chemical fertilizers damaging the soil and soil depletion. Organic farming is an attempt to remineralize the soil and reduce the damage that industrial farming brings.
2 | Better Water Quality
Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides used by industrial farming are leeching into our ground water. Organic farming can help restore water damage through use of organic fertilizers and a wider variety of crops planted (biodiversity), giving the soil better structure reducing the risk of groundwater pollution. Who wants contaminated water? Not me.
3 | Biodiversity
What the heck is biodiversity? Basically it’s the entire web of life. It’s everything in nature from the tiniest cell to the largest animal. Organic farming supports and encourages biodiversity in a number of ways: it promotes the use of a variety of crops to optimize nutrients in the soil, maintains the general ecosystem and allows for adaptation of crops to changing conditions like climate.
There are over 250,000 types of plants that we can grow, but we are only growing less than 3% of these crops today. Modern farming encourages intensive farming of a small variety of plants. The best example of this is in wheat, corn and rice crops – which represent move than 50% of plant-derived energy in this world. How scary is that, when you consider the super-bugs and super-pests that are growing resistant to chemical pesticides? We’ve dug ourself into a bit of a hole.
The biggest reason people shy away from organic farming is because they are concerned about the cost. But would you rather pay today or tomorrow? Organics are good for your health, the soil, the water and the ecosystem. You’re not just supporting your health, but you’re supporting nature and sustainability. Conventional farming is taking that away. Are you ready to pay the price?
If you find it hard to buy everything organic, this is a great place to start: The Dirty Dozen & Clean 15. Every year this list gets updated to represent the most pesticide-laden fruits & vegetables, and the “cleanest” fifteen produce items.