. food quality .
Good nutrition is vital for maintaining health and preventing disease. Because organic foods are high in nutritional quality and quantity, they play an important role in promoting human health.
IFOAM Definition of Organic Agriculture
Organically-grown fruits and vegetables obtain their nutrients from healthy soils, rather than synthetic fertilizers. They are lower in water content, thus reserving a higher nutrient density, they are richer in iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and antioxidants, and they provide a more balanced combination of essential amino acids.
Organic livestock farmers work to optimize the animals’ health and well-being, rather than maximizing their potential output through rearing practices, such as a balanced diet and sufficient room for physical and mental needs.
Organically-raised animals have better overall health, especially in the areas of reproduction and recovery from illness. Organically-raised animals have a reduced risk of carrying diseases, in fact, no record of Bse has been found in organically-raised animals. Organically-raised animals have an ideal fat profile, that is, they have a lower ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat.
FiBL: Organic Food, Nutrition, and Health
Although not directly related to nutrition, good taste stimulates appetite and digestive processes. Organic foods have consistently been rated as having better flavor and texture than non-organic foods.
Conventional food production methods compromise the nutritional quality and safety of food. Even after washing, over half of fruits and vegetables produced with conventional methods contain pesticide residues. Pesticides can compromise human health because they, affect the endocrine and immune system, are known animal and suspected human carcinogens, and can result in higher rates of miscarriages and reduced fertility in agricultural workers exposed to pesticides
There are more than 500 additives permitted for use in conventional agriculture, some of which have negative human health effects: hydrogenated fats can increase the risk of heart disease; phosphoric acid can deplete calcium in bones; Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG) can cause dizziness, headaches, and asthma.
In conventional agriculture, livestock are regularly provided antibiotic drugs to prevent disease and promote rapid growth. There is concern that humans are developing resistance to antibiotics due to the indirect consumption of antibiotic drug residues in animal-based products.
The use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in conventional agriculture compromises the safety of the food for several reasons. One reason is that antigens can appear unexpectedly in unrelated foods, causing surprise allergic reactions in people. There is insufficient evidence regarding the safety of GMOs, yet they are widely used around the world. Negative health effects due to the consumption of GMO’s have been observed in animals.
Supporting Organic Agriculture means supporting human health and safety.
Consumers wishing to increase their intake of minerals, vitamin C, and secondary plant nutrients, while reducing their exposure to potentially harmful pesticides, drug residues, GMOs and additives, should support the organic movement and chose organic
Farmers wishing to protect their own and their workers’ health, and improve the quality of their produce, should grow organic
Governments wishing to improve the health of their population and reduce health care costs should encourage organic agriculture
Researchers should continue to explore organic foods’ role in promoting human health and safety