A better nutrient profile
Studies have demonstrated that organic cultivation techniques often lead to more densely nutritious produce, including more vitamins, more minerals and more secondary plant metabolites1. This is particularly so for fruit and vegetables. Organic meat and dairy also have better fat profiles - healthier Omega 3 and fewer inflammatory fats.
Organic is better for our gut
Recent research suggests organic food is better for the balance of bacteria inhabiting our gut - our microbiome. Our microbiome is the rising star in research and in our understanding of health and wellness, immune function, weight maintenance, mood and digestive health. Eating organically grown foods reduces exposure to pesticides and other ‘cides’ used in commercial farming; these toxic chemicals are detrimental to our gut flora, and our general health (implicated in a variety of diseases) so, wherever possible, it is best to avoid them.
Organic has fewer antibiotics
The use of antibiotics in livestock is restricted in organic farming. Commercially grown livestock are the world’s biggest consumers of antibiotics. When antibiotics are routinely used, resistance is increased and the resistant bacteria can survive and contaminate animal products in slaughtering and processing, from manure and animal handling. This results in infection, illness and unfavourable alterations in the microbiome of the human host.
Organic is better for the animals and the environment
Healthy soils and mindful organic farming practices such as crop rotation, produce healthier food. For example, despite the use of fungicides in commercial farming, organic grain crops have fewer fungal toxins; despite less use of antibiotics, organic dairy cows do not suffer more from mastitis. Better conditions, natural feed and less crowding are credited as reasons.
Why choose organic? Because it’s better for the plants, better for the animals, better for the farmer, better for the planet, and also, better for YOU!
By Gemma Hurditch, Lecturer, College of Naturopathic Medicine
1. Secondary plant metabolites improve the health and protection of the plant and can offer similar advantages to humans. For example beta carotene (precursor to vitamin A), and polyphenols (food for our gut bacteria).
Resources: Anne Lise Brantsæter, Trond A. Ydersbond, Jane A. Hoppin, Margaretha Haugen, Helle Margrete Meltzer Organic Food in the Diet: Exposure and Health Implications Annual Review of Public Health 2017 38:1, 295-313. Available at: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031816-044437
Mie A, Andersen HR, Gunnarsson S, et al. Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: a comprehensive review. Environ Health. 2017;16(1):111. Published 2017 Oct 27. doi:10.1186/s12940-017-0315-4. Available at:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5658984/ Dr. Bassem Zayed. Combating Antimicrobial Resistance, a global and regional progress (presentation). UAE International Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance, March 2018. Available at: http://www.icamr-uae.com/presentations/gap-on-amr.pdf