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Plus, two experts share which foods are worth buying organic and which, well, aren’t
If you didn’t already know, September marks Organic September, an entire month dedicated to celebrating organic food, beauty, clothing and more. I don’t know what are the real benefits of organic food? Sit tight – we asked the pros, and picked their brains out on how to do it on a budget.
Consumer demand for organic food and drink is booming, at least that’s what Clare McDermott says, Soil association certification Business Development Director. âThe organic market is thriving and is now worth Â£ 2.79 billion, growing 12.5% ââin 2020, which is significantly higher than non-organic at 8.9%. “
She believes this year’s organic September will be the biggest and most daring ever. âThe organic food and beverage industry is celebrating unprecedented growth as more and more consumers seek assurances about the provenance and quality of their food and beverages,â McDermott explains.
Eager to know which organic foods are worth paying the extra for and which aren’t that important? Keep scrolling – and don’t miss our guides to greenwashing, sustainable living, and fast fashion, while you’re here.
So what is organic food?
The Soil Association defines organic as: “Food production that aims to produce sufficient quantities of high quality food using methods that provide numerous benefits to our entire food system, from humans to the planet, from plant health for animal welfare. “
According to their website, a food can only be certified organic if farmers don’t use the following:
- Synthetics (artificial substances)
- Wastewater for fertilizer
Farmers should also:
- Use natural fertilizers
- Rotation of production plots
- Use only non-toxic pesticides.
âNon-organic foods, on the other hand, are grown and produced in ways that might be considered unethical,â says Simone Thomas, nutrition consultant at Simone Thomas Well-being.
Note here: There is currently no legal framework that governs organic beauty and wellness products like there is for food and drink, McDermott says. âIt’s important to look for the logo when purchasing products to make sure what you choose has been certified organic. “
Why is eating organic important?
In short, research shows that consuming mainly organic foods can be beneficial for both your body and the environment.
- Organic foods contain fewer pesticides: âIt’s the best way to reduce your exposure to pesticides,â explains Thomas. âSome pesticide residues remain on food despite washing and cooking. “
- Organic food respects animal welfare standards: When it comes to eating meat, some people opt for organic meat due to the high standards of animal welfare and the drastically reduced use of antibiotics in organic farming. âOrganic farmers only use antibiotics as a last resort,â McDermott shares. âThe Soil Association’s higher standards also completely ban the use of certain antibiotics, such as colistin, which is of critical importance to human health. “
- Organic foods are minimally processed: To state the obvious, organic foods are much less processed than their non-organic counterparts and contain no harmful additives or preservatives.
- Organic foods contain more antioxidants: According to Thomas, a six-year study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that organic onions had about 20% higher antioxidant content than conventionally grown onions. Not bad.
- Organic foods contain more healthy fats: Likewise, a 2016 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organic meat and milk contain about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy unsaturated fat, shares the nutrition consultant.
- Organic food is better for the environment: Organic farming is helping fight climate change, McDermott shares – it’s known to be more energy efficient and has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than more intensive farming, which means less CO2 lands in the land. atmosphere. âNot only that, but organic food and drink is produced in a way that benefits nature – for example, organic farms are home, on average, up to 50% more wildlife and 30% more wildlife. ‘plus wildlife, which means buying organic products. it’s like voting to support nature and biodiversity, âshe continues.
18 foods that to do you have to be organic
Many of us wonder if it’s better to go organic, especially considering the cost of organic food, which can be expensive for a growing family. âWhenever possible, I always say eat organic,â shares Thomas. âNon-organic produce has likely been sprayed with pesticides, leaving toxic byproducts that often cannot be washed, brushed, or peeled. “
However, if you simply cannot afford to buy organic at all, then consider the following:
- Strawberries – âThese are one of the foods most contaminated with pesticides,â says Thomas.
- Spinach, another which contains a lot of pesticides, must therefore always be purchased organic, âshe continues.
- Greens – think kale and mustard leaves
- Fruits – think of nectarines, apples, pears, grapes and cherries
McDermott also recommends going organic with:
9 foods that not you have to be organic
Want to save a few cents? Although the above foods are the most contaminated with pesticides, the ones below are not, that is, they are known not to contain as many pesticides and therefore can give you peace of mind. of mind knowing that you are not consuming a lot of the wrong things. .
- Sweet corn
Where can I buy organic food?
You can find organic versions of most products these days, and all of the major retailers have a good selection of organic products, so it’s easy. âOrganic vegetables and staples like rice, pasta, and milk are often the same or not much more than non-organic produce, in reality,â McDermott says.
Try that: Opt for an organic box scheme, advises the pro. “It’s a very cost effective way to have delicious, seasonal and organic vegetables delivered right to your door, which is also convenient.”
Note here: Buying any organic food really does make a difference, that’s what McDermott says. âWhat’s important is that you don’t have to switch to 100% organic food,â she stresses. His advice? âPick the things you buy the most, such as carrots or bananas, milk or yogurt, which are all readily available. Every time you choose organic, you are making a better choice for the planet and for your health.