5 Benefits of Eating Organic Foods Along with the Effects They Have on the Body
Organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains have been shown in at least 41 studies to provide considerably more of the following nutrients:
In organic fruits and vegetable, studies found around 27% more Vitamin C than in traditionally grown produce. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C can claim multiple benefits for our bodies although the most significant benefit is in the fact that it’s a powerful antioxidant, working to protect our cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
Magnesium is critical to our bodies’ functioning as it activates over 300 enzyme reactions, involving itself in thousands of constantly-occuring biochemical reactions. Almost 30% more magnesium was found by studies in organic produce.
Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, heart rate, nerve transmission, blood coagulation, energy production, nutrient metabolism and cell formation while also keeping bones strong. On a practical level, it can relax a rapid heart beat but if too much is taken, magnesium can bring a bout of diarrhea with it.
Phosphorus is second to calcium in being two of the most important minerals in our bodies. These two minerals work together building strong bones and teeth. It’s also used for growth and the repair of our cells and tissues. About 85% of phosphorus is in our bones and teeth and roughly 14% more phosphorus was found in organic food than in traditionally grown or prepared foods.
All of our cells contain some of the mineral iron (most is in our red blood cells) and what’s most vital to our health is the fact that our red blood cells carry oxygen from our lungs to the organs and tissues throughout the body. Without our healthy (iron containing) red blood cells, our bodies wouldn’t get enough oxygen. Organically grown food was proven to provide over 20% more Iron than traditionally grown food.
A final critical advantage to eating organic foods is that organically grown foods have been shown to contain 15% less nitrates than in traditionally grown foods. Lessened nitrates are important because they can hamper our bodies oxygen transporting abilities.
In summary, eating organic foods provide multiple benefits to our bodies including: lowering inflammation, increasing nutrients, lowering toxicity and pesticide content and increasing vital minerals.
The following are several benefits of drinking safe water:
There’s no chlorine in clean water: our tap water contains chlorine which creates Chloroform
There’s no fluoride in clean water. This is important because fluoride binds magnesium which is essential for our bodies to produce ATP.
There are no pesticides in clean water. This is very important for the body as pesticides are drawn to the nervous system and can potentially do considerable harm to not only the nervous system but to the organs they serve.
There are no residual pharmaceuticals in clean water which can slow cell growth and cells can fail to develop normally.
Finally, there is no lead in clean water and lead inhibits red blood cell formation.
Nutritional Superiority of Organic Foods
This study focused on providing more current evidence that organic fruits and vegetables deliver more nutrients per serving including providing phytonutrients and antioxidants. In other words, it attempts and succeeds at answering the question, “Are organic foods more nutritious?”
I found it interesting to see the considerable increase in organic food studies since 2000 compared to previous years. In fact, the number of studies has doubled with this decade as well as the quality of these studies. For example, most studies in the 1980’s focused on vitamin and mineral levels in organic foods whereas studies since 2000 measure those as well as total antioxidant and polyphenol capacity.
Having reviewed previous organic food studies (97) since the 1980’s, this team initially choose 236 scientifically “matched” pairs (and 11 nutrients) of measurements that included an organic and a conventional food sample. Rigorous screening policies were established to determine which data was reliable from the various studies and why. Studies prior to the 1980’s weren’t included by this team due to studies experimental design flaws and questions about the analytic methods used to measure nutrients.
I think one of the best things about reading this kind of study is that it heightens awareness of the measuring parameters used to consider studies valid. It also highlights the incredible amount of detail and rigor involved in providing the most reliable information to the public on the advantageous viability of consuming organic produce and foods.
While I wasn’t surprised by the conclusion that organic plant-based foods have higher nutrient density, I was pleased to know that the average organic food has roughly 25% more nutrients than plant based foods from conventional farming.
In conclusion, it would be hard to argue with such a detailed, rigorous and voluminous study. That amount of work and detail appears to be missing from a lot of studies and I’m often aware of checking or re-checking source materials especially in studies that are considered “game changers”.
Is Meat Essential For A Healthy Diet?
This appears to be a rather controversial question these days but from my perspective, it’s protein and additional nutrients that our bodies need; not meat per se.
If we look at the meat eater’s arguments, meat carries a lot of protein along with the amino acids necessary for muscle development. It’s also a strong source of iron which is needed to make red blood cells that carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of the body. Additionally, meat is also a source of zinc which helps in proper immune system function. All of this assumes (these days) however, that we’re talking about grass fed beef, etc.
But can’t all those nutrients be provided by other foods that we non-meat eaters prefer to enjoy? On this side of the coin, beans and lentils are just two of the high protein foods available as alternatives to meat with both high fiber and iron contents as well. While meat has Omega 3’s, those healthy fats can also be obtained from seafood, dairy, vegetable oils and nuts and seeds to name a few.
With all of the international research done on healthy diets concluding that vegan and vegetarian diets provide sufficient dietetic nutrients, I think it’s very clear that the “meat or not” argument inevitably comes down to one’s preferences.
The following article is particularly insightful article re: this issue as it compares the protein content in 14 meat vs. plant foods: Meat Vs Plant: 14 Protein-Rich Foods Go Head-to-Head
Are Free Range, Wild Caught/Organic Meats Healthier Than Industrial Meats?
Yes, they are. Citing an investigation by the US Dept of Agriculture and the Dept of Health and Human Services, the DGAC (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) recently (2015) recommended that Americans “eat less red and processed meat”. This was a diluted statement in the face of overwhelming research into the real dangers of eating CAFO meats.
Studies of comparison of grass fed vs. grain fed beef show that grass fed beef typically contains less total fat than grain fed meaning that grass fed beef contains fewer calories. The fatty acid profile is interesting comparing these two meat sources: While in terms of saturated and monounsaturated fats, the the grass fed beef has slightly less; in terms of the Omega 6 polyunsaturated fats, both groups are comparable.
One of the major differences when comparing grass fed to CAFO meat is in the Omega 3’s. Grass fed can contain up to 5 times the Omega 3’s as CAFO meats. Additionally, grass fed beef also contains almost twice the conjugated linoleic (CLA) as grain fed beef. Additionally, CAFO’s produce meat with very high omega 6’s to omega 3’s as a result of the feed they’re given. One source claims that ratio to be an appalling 20:1 as opposed to the ratio of grass fed at 2:1. The bottom line here is that grass fed and wild meats are typically anti inflammatory or neutral whereas CAFO meat is highly inflammatory given their high levels of arachodinic acid caused by their cruel treatment.
Some sources claim grain fed meats to be nutritious (but they fail to consider CAFO living conditions and the resultant dangers of eating CAFO foods) with vitamins B 12, 3 and 6 as well as iron, selenium and zinc in the meat. Meat also contains protein and the nutrients creatine and carnosine (important for our brains and muscles).
Even with the claims of the nutrient density of CAFO meats (ignoring things like high levels of arachidonic acid in stressed out animals), there is clearly even greater nutrient density in grass fed meats as in the following: grass fed beef has carotenoid precursors to vitamin A. It also contains four times the vitamin E (antioxidant that protects cell membranes from oxidation) as in CAFO meats as well as potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, sodium and cancer fighting antioxidants.
Any comparison between CAFO meats and naturally raised animal meat wouldn’t be complete without mention of the pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and additional drugs that CAFO meats are raised on. Important mention also needs to be made about the conditions in which those animals are raised: cramped environments that promise little to no movement for the animals as well as living in their own manure. It’s appalling.
What Is Arachidonic Acid And What Does It Do To The Body?
Arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid made both by man and animals. Being one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain, arachidonic acid is also known to help repair and grow skeletal muscle tissues as well as neurons. Arachidonic acid is considered an important part of the human diet.
Additionally, this fatty acid is known for its importance to metabolism in the body and is especially important in the synthesis of prostaglandins (fat compounds that have hormone like effects) and leukotrienes (inflammatory molecules associated with bronchoconstriction).
Despite these advantages to the human body, arachidonic acid becomes a problem when we over consume it (since we make it in our own bodies to begin with). Since most arachidonic acid comes from meat sources, if a person is a big meat eater, particular care needs to be taken to eat grass fed meats. CAFO animals that are not grass fed but instead mistreated and fed grains, etc. are under considerable stress as they’re raised. As a consequence, their bodies contain far higher amounts of arachodinic acid and when consumed by humans, it becomes a potent inflammatory. Energy and the ability to detoxify the body will also be inhibited by arachodinic acid.
Raw Food Diets
The staples of a raw food diet include organic raw fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains, nuts and seeds. True raw “foodies” may also eat raw eggs, fish, meat and unpasteurized dairy although a clever and skilled raw foods cook can simulate many of the latter foods by using nut and seeds.
This diet or lifestyle meal plan relies primarily on organic foods that have been unprocessed. One of the main arguments for this diet claims that cooked food becomes toxic food although food can be warmed up to 118 degrees without concern for toxicity. The counter argument to that is that cooking also can boost some nutrients such as beta carotene and lycopene as well as killing bacteria. Additionally, cooking can make some foods more easily digested.
Consuming fruits and vegetable can help control blood pressure along with providing an incredible assortment of nutrients like fiber, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients (disease fighting). Additional benefits to following a raw food diet include; weight loss, improved digestion, lowered risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and significantly increased energy.
Food Allergy Testing
An elimination diet relies on trial and error to discover foods that a person may be allergic or intolerant to. Typically based on removing a suspected food from the diet for two weeks to two months, an elimination diet might remove any one or two foods at a time to see if symptoms alleviate. If the negative physical symptoms do subside, then it’s not uncommon to reintroduce the suspected food to see if symptoms reappear.
It’s said that this approach to treating food allergies or intolerances can often be most useful when initial symptoms/intolerances are vague or intermittent or also to determine if the negative physical symptoms are food related.
As for a four to seven day rotation diet, emphasis is placed on controlling allergies by eating biologically related foods on the same day and then waiting 4-7 days before a person eats them again. The idea behind this type of allergy testing is that for example, if you eat a food on Monday that you’re sensitive to but then eat it again on say, Friday, your body will have time to diminish your body’s antibodies to that food.
This kind of test can be useful in helping a person pick out foods that they may not have known they were allergic to or intolerant of. A rotation diet can allow a person to eat foods that they may have a mild allergy to but might not be able to tolerate if eaten frequently.
In strong contrast to both of these diets, an IgG blood tests takes the guess work out of allergy testing. While the above methods of dealing with food allergies are obviously most inexpensive, the IgG allergy test runs roughly at $300-$400 and ends up being the most expensive of these methods of determining food allergies. Even with that, I personally would prefer the IgG because the other alternatives would be time consuming if pursued on a large scale and open the door for frustration and error.