Many people choose organic food to lessen their exposure to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, but there are many more benefits to organic eating. Health-wise, organic crops contain more concentrated nutrients than conventional crops, so they’re better for you. Plus, organic farming methods protect and enhance our environment, making our food supply more sustainable, diverse, and secure.
“What happens on organic farms has a synergistic impact,” says Jessica Shade, PhD, Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center, a nonprofit educational and research organization. Organic farming benefits the soil , making it richer, more resilient to climate change, and capable of absorbing and retaining more carbon monoxide from the atmosphere. And organic farmers grow a much greater variety of crops, which helps us develop more diverse diets while also enabling essential pollinators, such as bees and birds, to thrive. “Organic farms have almost twice as many pollinators as conventional farms,” says Shade.
Did you know?
Organic farms grow flowers and other plants just to attract pollinators such as bees, as well as ladybugs and other beneficial insects that eat harmful bugs.
A review of 35 different studies, published in the journal Nutrients, compared the health of people who regularly eat conventional produce with those who eat a mostly organic diet and found that going organic has multiple benefits. Organic consumers suffered from less infertility, and pregnant women who ate organic experienced less preeclampsia and their babies had fewer birth defects. Children who ate a mostly organic diet had fewer allergies and ear infections, and adults were less likely to be overweight or to develop serious health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
An analysis of the organic benefits of foods featured in more than 300 studies found that when compared to conventionally grown crops, organic plant foods contain:
69% more flavanones
51% more anthocyanins
50% more flavonols
28% more stilbenes
26% more flavones
19% more phenolic acids
And it’s not just veggies. When compared to conventional meat and milk, organic versions have been found to contain more beneficial omega-3 fats and antioxidants. In addition, organic meat contains less cholesterol, and organic milk contains more minerals.
For more information, visit The Organic Center