Organic Foods

Organic foods are a great way to begin a healthy lifestyle. Yet there is one major drawback, cost. The price of organic foods is higher because it requires more work and there is less productivity per acre. Most foods found in the supermarket are grown using high-tech farming techniques that include the use of fertilizers to stimulate growth, the use of insecticides to control insects, and the use of herbicides to stifle weeds. But organic foods are not grown using chemicals. In addition, bio-engineered seeds that might be disease or drought resistant are not used. During processing radiation may not be used to kill bacteria.

Some of chemicals used in traditional farming may have a detrimental effect on humans consuming fruits and vegetables1. They can also have a negative effect on the environment. Organic farming is an effort to eliminate the use of chemicals by natural techniques that still maintain high yields and quality produce. Fertilizing can be done using composted manure and by using sophisticated methods of crop rotation to ensure proper balance in the soil. Insects can be controlled using traps. Planting crops side by side with insect repelling plants such as marigolds or garlic can also do the trick. Another common organic technique for keeping pests under control is to keep pest eating animals and beneficial insects nearby. Controlling weeds can be accomplished by proper tilling methods and mulching. (Find out how to grow your own organic garden.)

In meat production, organic growers use feeds that are organically grown. They do not use hormones and antibiotics. This can be important because hormones can remain in the meat even after cooking, affecting the people who consume it. Also, the mass use of antibiotics promotes resistant strains of bacteria which can cause general health problems down the line.

USDA Organic Seal

To be sure that a product in the supermarket is organically grown look for the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) seal. Not all organic products will bear the seal. Nevertheless only certain products can be labelled organic: single ingredient products that are 100% organically grown, or multi-ingredient products in which more than 95% of the net weight is organically grown. A processed product can be labelled as "made with organic ingredients" if it is made with at least 70% organic ingredients.

There are several reasons to buy organic foods (no pesticides and environmentally friendly farming techniques). Yet, it should be noted that traditionally grown crops generally have the same nutritional value, quality in appearance, and taste. When preparing fruits and vegetables, organic or not, it is always wise to rinse and dry them first to reduce consumption of dirt and bacteria.

The next step to organic living is to grow your own food using organic gardening techniques.

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  1. The amount of residual chemicals on traditionally grown fruits and vegetables has been found to be safe for most healthy adults by the USDA. However, pregnant women and young children may be at greater risk.

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