One of the main benefits of organic nutrition is that it creates a healthy balance of vitamins, minerals and microelements in the organism. This balance is essential for health and well-being. Check out this article on essential minerals and vitamins for more info, including the role of minerals and vitamins in the organism.
In order to qualify as "organic", foods must fulfill certain production standards, as follows:
This being said, are organic foods universally good for your health?
For animal products such as meat and dairy, it means the animals were grown without the use of growth
hormone and routine antibiotics.
For crops and derivative products, it means the crops were
cultivated without using industrial pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage
- Also, organic produce is usually not genetically modified.
The answer is NO.
Of course, the absence of industrial pesticides and other chemicals from these foods is a health
benefit. However, this does not influence the natural content of the respective food. That food
can still have a high content of cholesterol or saturated fat, or can contain trans fats detrimental to your health (e.g., the meat or milk from organically grown cows).
So in conclusion, when evaluating organic foods as well as other foods:
- The composition of the food is important (how much fat it contains, what type of carbs, etc)
- Portion size is important. (Over-sizing portions in the long run will cause weight
gain, regardless whether it's organic food or regular food.)
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If a certain food is 'healthy' as far as composition and portion size, then
switching to the organic version of the same food (in the same portions)
is likely to be beneficial to your health.
There are many Organic Food Store Chains, which specialize in providing organic versions to almost any food item.
A healthy organic food (just like a healthy regular food) should:
Organic fruit and vegetables are of course beneficial to health, due to the lack of industrial pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
However, when it comes to processed prepackaged organic products (such as cheese, meat
products, beverages, etc) - the mere label "organic" doesn't tell the whole story. In such cases, make sure to read the nutrition facts label (just as you would for a regular food product). This will tell you if the respective item is really good for your health:
- have low amount of saturated fat
- have a low amount of cholesterol
- have zero trans fats
- have low amount of sugars (few carbs of high glycemic index)
- have low amount of sodium (salt)
Additionally, the health benefit of any organic food (just like that of any regular food) increases with the following:
- a relatively high content of monounsaturated fat
- a relatively high content of omega3 fatty acids
- a relatively high content of fiber (as found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products)
- a reasonable content of vitamins*
- a reasonable content of certain minerals and microelements (e.g. Calcium,
Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphate, Zinc, Manganese, Nickel, Cadmium, etc)*
All of the above, consumed in appropriate amounts, improve body function at multiple organ
levels (cardiovascular, digestive, skin, neurologic, mental functions, anti-cancer effect, etc,
etc). The result is decreased hunger and decreased need for food intake (since the body
already has all the elements it needs).
* Note: To get an idea what vitamins, minerals and microelements are necessary for optimal body function, take a look at the label of a multivitamin bottle (such as Centrum), which can be found on any pharmacy
Of course, taking a multivitamin a day should theoretically supply these elements. However, keep in
mind that your body may not absorb 100% of the principles delivered by the vitamin pill. The best way
to ensure these elements get in your body is by a balanced diet, with a diversified intake of fresh fruit
If you don't like fruit and vegetables, or cannot consume them due to other reasons, your next best
option is of course taking a multivitamin pill.
Keep in mind that vitamin supplements don't work instantly: You need a period of time (sometimes
several weeks), to replenish certain deficits and feel a change for the better.
(a concrete example of how to pick a prepackaged Organic Food Item)
Cruising the Organic Aisle of my grocery store, I came across a brand called "Fantastik",
which specializes in side dishes such as rice pilafs (several varieties), humus, taco filling, black
beans, etc. These dishes are easily prepared using the contents of the package. Since the
description struck me as appealing, I took a look at the nutrition label
to see the calorie info. This was extremely reasonable, with calorie
counts below 200 per serving (mostly between 80 and 170), saturated fats zero, and sugars up to 7 grams per serving. This being clarified, I promptly bought a package of rice pilaf and
The point of the above example is this: Organic Nutrition doesn't grant amnesty against calorie digressions, and most certainly doesn't grant immunity against sugars and/or saturated fats. These factors will still do damage to one's health and weight, regardless if coming from organic foods otherwise.
Organic foods may facilitate a weight loss program by creating a healthy balance in the body and providing valuable nutrients without unnecessary and potentially harmful artificial preservatives. This type of nutrition, which is closer to nature, may also have a role in curbing hunger and maintaining a feeling of satiety over longer periods of time. So, it is indisputable that organic nutrition is an important factor for a healthy lifestyle.
Regarding the pure weight control aspect, however, be advised that success ultimately depends on the number of calories ingested per day as well as the composition of the foods consumed (particularly the fat- and sugar-content).
In conclusion: Organic nutrition, although not the mainstay of weight control, can be regarded as a valuable adjunct in a weight loss program.
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