Organic Food Benefits
With the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle being abundantly clear, healthy food choices are now in the spotlight. The demand for organic foods among U.S. consumers is on the rise due to the assumption that it is a healthier and safer food choice. As a consequence of staggering amounts of greenwashing thrust upon consumers today, labels and claims of health benefits have become overwhelming and confusing. Buyers must seek the facts for nutrition and safety information themselves in order to find what is truly the best choice for them. Unfortunately, research has not given clear guidance to date on either topic. According to Chhabra, Kolli, & Bauer, “Very little is known about the actual health effects of organically farmed food” (2013, para 2). Although there is not enough definitive evidence to say that organic food is safer or more nutritious, organic food is often fresher, environmentally friendlier, and healthier than its alternative.
Benefits of Fresh Produce
Buying fresh organic produce provides benefits such as improved taste, higher nutrient values, and economic value. Identifying organic foods can be a daunting task. First, it is necessary to understand what organic means.
Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used. (USDA, 2012, para 1)
The USDA produce labeling system provides further clarification for consumers by identifying organic items using a five digit code beginning with the number nine.
The first noticeable benefit of fresh organic food is the improved taste. As an example, locally grown organic tomatoes have the ability to fully ripen on the vine before being harvested. It is widely known that vine ripened tomatoes provide the best taste. Organic foods also lack preservatives. Produce lacking preservatives require fresher consumption. This fresher consumption provides an improved taste. Conversely, despite their preferred taste, specific varieties that are not deemed to travel well from conventional farms may not be offered at all.
“There is clear evidence that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of many diseases, including some types of cancer” (Kaegi, 1998, para 4). Many organic choices are grown locally. Selecting the freshest options only further increases the vitamin content and maximizes the health benefits. This is attributable to local foods having less of an opportunity to degrade and lose nutrients during transport.
Local buying not only yields advantages with regard to the freshness of the food itself, it also serves to bolster neighborhood economies. Local jobs...