The wellness grapevine is buzzing with a little noise about “real” foods. Packed with wholesome goodness, these foods strengthen the body in many ways.
To many people, organic food is still a mystery. If you are toying with the idea of giving whole foods a try, you would probably need to know what they are and why they generate so much hype.
You may toy with the idea of traveling along the organic route, especially if you suffer from a chronic illness. Before moving ahead, you will need to know its benefits. Take some time to discover which organic foods keep illnesses at bay.
Defining the term organic
Organic food refers to food produced via organic farming. It involves mechanical, biological and cultural practices that bring about the cycling of resources. It uses natural pesticides such as bone meal from animals.
English agriculturist Lord Northbourne first used the term “organic farming” when he wrote his book, Look to the Land.
Techniques used in this type of farming include crop rotation, or growing varied crops in the same area and rotating them when the seasons change. This increases nutrients in the soil, and crop yield.
Some organic farmers may use green manure to grow organic crops. They leave mown crop parts to wither on a field to serve as soil amendment. Farmers merge them into the soil while they are still flowering. This increases microbial activity, ineceasing mycellum and other materials that enrich the soil. These crops have nitrogen-fixing bacteria that change the atmosphere so that plants can take it in. They also have soil acidifying matter that decrease their alkalinity.
Other farmers may rely on compost, or decayed, organic matter to amend the soil. They make heaps of organic matter, known as “green” waste (waste from food or leaves). They shred the plant matter, add water and aerate the mixture by turning it regularly. Worms and fungi disintegrate the material further and turn it into heat, ammonium and carbon dioxide. This creates an ideal environment for soil to grow in.
To make sure that organic farming complies with government-defined standards, many governments need producers to have special certification to generate organic crops. There is a widespread belief that such food is safer and more nutritious that the food usually eaten at the table. The public often perceives organic food as having a drier, albeit healthier taste.
How organic foods help everyone
The food you eat at the table is not the boon you think. Organic food, conversely, will help you and your loved ones in many ways.
1. Decreasing hormones and antibiotics
Farmers constantly scatter pesticides on their crops, and give them to their cows as feed. Crops and animals absorb these pesticides. You ingest these antibodies when you take them as meals.
Those certified to distribute organic produce must make sure that they do not inject antibodies in the animals they rear. Farmers who distribute dairy products have to avoid using pasteurization or homogenization, which breaks up butterfat. Disintegrated spheres of fat clog arteries and cause obesity-related problems. Organic dairy products, which are not homogenized, prevent heart disease.
Studies show that grass-fed, organic butter is rich in Vitamin K2, which removes calcium and plaque from the arteries. A study by Spronk HM et al showed that Vitamin K2 stopped warfarin calcification in rats.
2. Avoiding genetically altered food
Irridation is a process that involves exposing food to ionizing radiation. This preserves food and stops invasive pests. In so doing, it alters its genetic composition as well.
Irridation also removes necessary nutrients and healthy bacteria. It leaves behind mutagens and carcinogens. Studies show that irridated foods can lose anywhere from 5 to 80% of Vitamins A, E, C and K.
An increasing number of studies point to the dangers of genetically modified food. This includes liver damage, allergies or pancreatic problems.
Farmers regularly spray pesticides to ward off locusts and other insects. Thoughts of how much toxin we take into our bodies as a result of ingesting these pesticides is alarming. What compounds this fear is that some farmers engineer their crops to produce toxins that harm pests.
Though the Food and Drug Administration in the United States approved these toxic chemicals, they have links with cancer. Tests show that 60% of herbicides have carcinogen, while 90% of fungicides are carcinogenic. Organic food allays these fears.
4. Free of gas ripening
Real foods are a boon because they are free of gas ripening effects. Some farmers use Ethylene gas to hasten the ripening of fruit. Ironically, it is a hormone that ripens and damages fruit prematurely. Organic farmers make sure that the fruit they grow is not exposed to this gas.
A study by Mohammad Asif pointed to the harmful effect of calcium sulfate, a common ripening agent. It showed that this agent produces ecethylene gas and arsenic, which may harm different body organs.
5. Increasing energy
Oncology dietitian Kristen Trukova advises that thermogenesis only burns about 10% of our calories daily. An organic diet burns the other 90%.
Organic foods prevent the body’s adipose tissue from being flooded by toxins. This greatly facilitates fat burning.
6. Better nutrition
Organic food is higher in nutrients than conventionally grown foods. It has more Vitamin C, antioxidants, calcium, iron and chromium. A study indicated that organic foods have 27% more Vitamin C and 29.3% more magnesium.
After reviewing research on whether organic food is healthier than conventional food, European researchers concluded that it has a higher concentration of antioxidants. Organic foods boost immunity.
7. Free of neurotoxins
Organic foods do not have neurotoxins. These toxins damage nerve cells in the brain. Originally developed for warfare, researchers adapted them to kill pests in food.
Experts Philippe Grandjean Harvard University and Phillip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine proved that neurotoxins damaged the brains of children. They named 12 chemicals in pesticides, widely considered neurotoxins, that lowered IQs and caused chaos along the ADHD and Autism spectrums.
8. Helps children to grow
Children’s bodies are more prone to absorbing toxins than adults. Organic food limits exposure to pesticides and protects children from diseases.
How organic foods prevent illnesses
The greatest advantage of organic foods is that they limit illnesses. Organic farming pumps food with nutrients that fight disease, a boon if you have a chronic health condition.
Food scientist Alyson E Mitchell from the University of California studied compounds called flavonoids. These micronutrients limit cancer and heart disease. Her research found that organically grown corn had higher amounts of this compound than its conventionally grown counterpart, and is thus beneficial to patients with cancer or heart disease.
Researchers from the American Institute for Cancer Research have found that organic fruits and vegetables prevent cancer risk. They advocate that organically grown legumes, fruit and whole grains lessen the risk of obesity.
The best organic foods for managing health conditions
Real food enhances health, but their varieties may confuse you. Here is a list of whole foods that prevent illnesses promote wellness.
Apples may, as the adage goes, keep the doctor away. They are becoming increasingly popular as a tool for cancer prevention, as they rich with flavonoids. According to the National Public Health Institute, those who take in many apples daily are the least likely to develop cancer. Those who consumed apples had a 46% lower incidence of lung cancer than those who did not take foods.
Apples greatly enhance digestive health, because the increase polyphenols in the gastrointestinal tract. Polyphenols, which are plant compounds, have anticarcinogenic effects. Research by Kathrin Kahle et al shows that the polyphenols in apple juice prevented colorectal cancer in men.
Apples, a rich source of iron, treat anemia. Findings by Mohammad Aziz et al, who did tests on various apple samples, show that the high amounts of ascorbic acid and iron in apples makes the fruit a potent treatment for anemia.
Apples lower diabetes rates. Researcher Ahmed Saber Abu Zaiton found that apples reduced blood sugar in diabetic rats. Taking the fruit may lower insulin dependency.
Eating apples may help with dental care. As shown by Mohd RM, apples decreased antibacterial activity on chicken breast meat. The fruit stimulates saliva secretion, which prevents bacteria from further multiplying.
Phytonutrients in apples lower the risk of Alzhiemer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research shows that apples have grapeseed, which protects cells against neurotoxins. They also raise acetycholine in the brain, a hormone lined to concentration. This has great implications for those with Parkinson’s disease.
Apples can decrease respiratory issues as well. Berenike A. Stracke found that organically grown apples had a higher polyphenol content, proving that they had a higher antioxidant capacity.
Apples have anti-inflammatory properties that may lower cholesterol and heart disease risk. Sylvain Guyot found that French Cider apples have a flavonoid, quercetin, which lowers inflammation in the blood vessels. This reduces plaque and in turn, heart disease.
2. Baby food
Organic baby food has greater benefits for children than conventional food. Scientist Lu Chengsheng and his team of researchers found that organic food lowers a child’s exposure to pesticides.
Babies who eat organic food do not take in chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system. Their nutritional intake improves when they consume organic products. A study shows that whole milk has higher nutritional quality.
Cantaloupe is another super food that you can add to your fruit basket. A cup of cantaloupe juice has all the Vitamin A and C that you need for the day. The succulent, orange flesh has more beta carotene than carrots.
This is good news for women. Scientists have discovered that it increases the skin’s elasticity. The Vitamin C in the fruit protects its fans from heart disease cancer and cataracts.
The next time you have a sandwich, remember to add cucumber slices. According to Dr Mercola, cucumbers have a flavonol, fleetin, that slows age-related decline. This protects the elderly against Alzhiemer’s.
These vegetables have polyphenols called lignans, which lower breast and prostate cancer risk. Scientists have proven that one of its phytonutrients, cucurbitacins, impede cancer development.
Cucumbers are as cool as many people say they are. Studies on animals show that it inhibits inflammatory enzyme activity.
Ayurvedic practitioners swear by the cucumber’s ability to release excess heat from the stomach. This, they claim, removes bad breath.
Containing B vitamins, cucumbers keep you calmer than you may realize. The University of Maryland medical center shows that B Vitamins lower stress.
Doctors highly recommend cucumbers to patients coping with acid reflux symptoms. Their insoluble fiber allows food to move through the digestive tract.
This beloved vegetable allows you to keep to a healthy weight. The soluble fiber in cucumbers dissolves into a gel-like structure, allowing you to feel full longer. They also contain potassium, which regulates heart functions.
Give “real” rapes to someone you love. These fruit, according to researcher MaryAnne DellaFera from the University of Georgia, promote weight loss because they diminish your cell’s ability to store fat by 130%. With flavonoids, they lower the risk of obesity-linked health conditions like heart disease. They deliver nutrients and oxygen to cells.
The University of Switzerland also proved that the resveratrol in grapes protects the brain. This slows age-related brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzhiemer’s.
6. Green beans
Whole, green beans, with polyphenols, decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer. They purge the immune system of free radicals. The nutrients in green beans promote bone health and regulate your digestive processes as well.
New York’s Department of Health shows that green beans have folic acid, which reduces birth defects. Their research sows that it lowers neural tube defects (NTDs) drastically.
Researcher Elaine Lanza and her colleagues found that green beans had compounds which prevent polyps from forming. They found that colon cancer patients who took dry green beans had a lower recurrence of polyps,
Another study by Kalpana Patel points to the green bean’s ability to regulate blood glucose levels. They found that the beans had this effect on animals and humans.
The beans also have carotoids, which is a boon for eye health. The beans are a proven way to lower macular degeneration and vision loss. The calcium in green beans promotes bone health as well.
Spinach is another whole food full of phytonutrients, chemicals in green vegetables which may protect you against cancer. This super food also effectively breaks down the body’s nutrients for use. Like green beans, it raises bone health as well.
The beta carotene in spinach boosts asthma prevention. The leaves have potassium, which lowers blood pressure. An excellent iron source, it carries oxygen to blood cells. Vitamin K in spinach reduces calcification in blood vessels and prevents stroke.
Vitamin A, which produces sebum, facilitates the growth of bodily tissues. This gives skin and hair moisture .
8. Whole grains
One of the best foods to put in your organic shopping cart are whole grains.
These grains supply the 25 to 35 grams of fiber the body needs daily. These grains have both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps those with digestive problems like constipation and diarrhea.
These grains lower the risk of obesity-related diseases like cholesterol. PL Hollander and his research team, who compared whole grain to non-whole grain foods, found that whole grains lowered “bad” cholesterol, or HDL, greatly.
Whole grains lessen hypertension. Results of a study by Kosher J, who gave whole grain cereals to 13368 participants, suggested that cereal consumption reduced hypertension in male adults.
Whole grain breakfasts have links with weight loss. Di Dong, who published a study in Health Affairs, did tests among youth aged between 7 to 13. He found that whole grain foods had a great association with weight loss. They redistribute adipose tissue, or fat cells, reducing the risk of diabetes. Women who eat whole grains have a 30% lower risk of diabetes.
According to dietitian Keri Gans, whole grains take longer to digest and satisfy hunger for longer. This helps you keep portions under control.
Organic grains are rich with B Vitamins. This is welcome news for pregnant mothers, who do not want their babies to have birth defects. They also deliver essential minerals.
B vitamins are healthier for your gums as well. One study of 35000 health professionals showed that those who consumed whole grains were 23% likely to get gum disease.
The carbohydrates in whole grains are healthy. They travel through the digestive tract, burning fat. Nutritionists advocate that the body needs 15 to 20 grams of fat daily. Oatmeal and brown rice are potent sources of resistant starch.
Dietitian Madeline Edwards suggests that a strawberry has 51.5 mg of Vitamin C, which is half your body’s daily need. Vitamin C is well-known for boosting immunity. It prevents the eyes from degenerating and boosts skin health.
Further, strawberries have ellagic acids, which fight cancer. Lutein and zeathancins, present in these fruit, neutralize damaging cancer cells.
Edwards also reveals that strawberries, with powerful phytochemicals, boost heart health. They lower LDL and have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. They lower blood pressure and act as a powerful buffer against sodium.
Positive news for diabetics is that strawberries slow down the body’s absorption of blood sugars. Those suffering from diabetes can enjoy them in moderation. Low in both sugar and sodium, they help with weight control.
If you are thinking of what vegetables to include on the holiday table, consider squash.
Like many other vegetables, squash has high amounts of beta carotene. Half a cup of butternut squash has 4684 micrograms of it. This boosts skin health.
According to the Cancer Research Center, squash prevents cancer cells from communicating. Those who take winter squash have 18% lower risk of cataracts. The magnesium in squash prevents gallstones from forming. It also has potassium, which prevents blood pressure.
Other reasons to go organic
Whole foods do more than enhance human health. They support wildlife and biodiversity. According to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, there are 72% more semi-natural habitats on organic farms than on those which practice traditional farming methods. Another point to note is that organic farms are homes to 30% more animal species. Green, lower-intensity farming methods allow animal communities to develop. Conventional farms, conversely, yield monoculture.
Organic farms are safer work environments for farm workers. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 70% increase in the risk of Parkinson’s Disease in farm hands who worked on conventional farms. Being on organic farms limits such illnesses.
Taking the organic route to wellness is beneficial, though you must note a few considerations.
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