Organic food has become a very popular commodity in UAE supermarkets these days. But reading through the food labels, benefits, and claims can be confusing. Does organic food really have more nutrients? Studies till now have not confirmed that. Do GMOs and pesticides cause cancer and other diseases? The answer is yes as they manipulate your genetic mapping and play with your DNA. What do all the labels mean? This Article from gym based Abu Dhabi personal trainer Serene Ghandour can help you make better choices about which organic foods are healthier for you and how to incorporate more organic food into your diet.
The word “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices must be grown in safe soil, have no modifications, and reduce pollution. Farmers are not allowed to use conventional methods such as synthetic pesticides, bio-engineered genes (GMOs), and petroleum-based fertilizers. Using natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants is an example of organic farming.
Organic foods provide a variety of benefits. Some studies show that organic foods have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally grown counterparts. In addition, people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods. In addition:
- Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Conventional growers use synthetic pesticides to protect their crops from mold, insects and diseases, and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat.
- Organic food is often fresher. Organic food is usually fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer and tastes better. Organic produce is often produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.
- Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. No pesticides is also better for nearby birds and small animals as well as people who live close to or work on farms.
- Organically raised animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. The use of antibiotics helps create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Which means that when someone gets sick from these strains they will be less responsive to antibiotic treatment. In addition, the animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, both of which help to keep the animals healthy.
- Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants or animals whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, which in order will effect our bodies from hormone imbalances to many other factor that increase health risks. Organic meat comes from animals raised on organic, GMO-free feed.
GMOs have been linked to increased food allergens and gastro-intestinal problems in humans. Many people think that altering the DNA of a plant or animal can also increase the chances of developing cancer. However, so far research into the link between GMOs and serious disease has proven inconclusive. But never the less doesn’t mean that they don’t, it is always best to lower the risk of health issues by taking the right measurements and avoiding all that may play a part in it.
Whether you go totally organic or opt to mix conventional and organic foods, be sure to keep these tips in mind:
- Select a variety of foods from a variety of sources. This will give you a better mix of nutrients and reduce your likelihood of exposure to a single pesticide.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in season when possible. To get the freshest produce, ask your grocer what day new produce arrives. Or buy food from your local farmers market.
- Read food labels carefully. Just because a product says it’s organic or contains organic ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthier alternative. Some organic products may still be high in sugar, salt, fat or calories.
Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Washing helps remove dirt, bacteria and traces of chemicals from the surface of fruits and vegetables. Not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing, though. You can also peel fruits and vegetables, but peeling can mean losing some fiber and nutrients.
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