“I seem to get one cold after another and feel generally ‘run-down’. I am trying to make sure my diet is as good as possible and eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Would buying organic foods be beneficial for my health and help to boost my immune system?”
Suzie Sawyer, Clinical Nutritionist, answers.
There are many health benefits to eating organic foods. Various research suggests they are more nutrient-dense than their non-organic counterparts. This is because these types of crops can grow and develop more naturally rather than being chemically treated and their growth artificially accelerated.
Organic crops, particularly fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants. These essential compounds that help protect the body from degenerative disease as well as support the immune system. You may also notice that these fruits and vegetables have a more intense colour and it’s the beautiful deep colours that contain the antioxidant-rich plant polyphenols that capture these amazing health benefits. These crops also taste much better.
With regards to organic grains such as wheat, oats and barley, the soils in which they are grown are not as intensely farmed. This means that minerals such as selenium, an essential antioxidant and immune booster, are more widely available. Plus, the soils are not treated with the chemical blast that non-organic produce receives.
When it comes to animal farming, cattle and poultry are often fed with growth hormones, so they grow bigger faster and produce more eggs and milk. This is the reason that organic chickens are much smaller. Plus, the animals can also be given antibiotics. All these chemicals end up in the food chain and eventually on our plates! On the other hand, organically-reared animals cannot be given the same levels of chemicals so it follows that organic meat will also be healthier.
So, the answer to your question to eating as much organic produce as possible is an unequivocal yes. It’s generally more expensive but well worth it. We can’t put too high a price on our health.
September is Organic Month. To find out more visit the soil association website