Health Benefits Of Organic Food
Health Benefits Of Organic Food
Melissa Kidd (Soil Association Information Officer) gives expert video advice on: Are there any risks associated with eating organic?; Should I avoid some organic foods if I'm pregnant? and more...
What are the potential health benefits of eating organic?
The main health benefits of eating organic food are that there tend to be more vitamins and minerals available in organic food. By eating organic food, you're reducing the amount of toxic substances that you are exposing your body to. So your levels antibiotics, additives, pesticides and all "latives" are reduced by eating organic food, and because of this organic food potentially reduces your susceptibility to cancer, to Parkinson's, allergies, and degenerative mental problems as well.
Is organic baby-food better?
Organic baby food is better than non-organic baby food and there's lots of reasons why this is. A baby doesn't develop its blood-brain barrier until it's six months old. So this means that there's absolutely nothing protecting the brain from any poisons that might be carried around in the blood. And you have to remember that pesticides were developed to kill things, they were developed as nerve poisons, so if pesticides are being eating by a baby before it's six months old there's nothing to stop that actually going right into their brain. Organic farms avoid using pesticides so immediately you're reducing that risk. Organic food also generally has more vitamins and minerals in it, and you know, when a baby's growing, it needs all the help it can get. So it's very important that they get as many vitamins and minerals as possible. And also their immune systems are still developing so they haven't got the capacity to break down toxins or to metabolize them as easily as we have, so they're very vulnerable, so they need the best food, and we would argue that organic food was the best food.
What effect can pesticides have on our health?
The effect that pesticides can have on our health is really quite worrying, and there are some real concerns about how we are protected from these chemicals, which were developed as nerve poisons. Let's not forget that pesticides are actually developed to kill things, and although they're developed to kill targeted things, ultimately they end up killing a lot more things as well. The main concerns around pesticides are they're being linked strongly with cancer. Breast cancer rates in Europe are increasing rapidly, and women who have breast cancer are nine times more likely to have pesticides in their blood than women who don't have breast cancer. Decreasing male fertility rates are also being linked to pesticides. Parkinson's Disease and lots of mental degenerative diseases are also being linked to pesticide use. Allergies and things like ADHD in children are also being linked to pesticides. Foetal abnormalities are also linked to pesticide use. There are many links; potentially many problems with pesticides.
Are chemicals used in the production of organic food?
They're avoided, so we always operate on a prevention rather than cure principle. So there are four pesticides that can be used as a very, very last resort. They are copper, sulfur, derris, and soft soap and they can only be used on a restricted basis, which means that the farmer's got to prove that all other methods have been tried and tested and there really has been an environmental factor like a particularly wet summer that's particularly favored a particular type of pest and the only way we're going to get those back in balance is to use a very small amount. But those don't cause any residues on food. They break down very quickly in the environment and they're all naturally occurring and the amount used is tiny in comparison to the chemicals they used in non-organic farming.
Are there any risks associated with eating organic?
There are absolutely no risks associated with organic food. There were some concerns a while ago that using manure on land would mean that you're likely to catch diseases, but we have very strict composting length of times. If you compost manure for six months, it actually gets to such a temperature and breaks down any pathogens; the government has actually come out and said it is actually much safer and organic composting standards delete any form of risk. I would argue that it's more risky to eat non-organic food because of the residues and the chemicals that are in the food.
Should I avoid some organic foods if I'm pregnant?
If you're pregnant, as far as I know, there is no reason why you should be avoiding any organic foods, other than foods that you were already avoiding, like unpasteurised dairy products.
Is there a link between an organic lifestyle and complimentary therapies?
Organic farming is all about looking at the farm as a whole living organism and about prevention rather than cure, so there are some ties with complimentary medicines. We would encourage farms to use homeopathy in the first instance if there was a problem. However, if the animal didn't respond then we would allow them to use targeted antibiotics to cure them.