"Organic" is a term that has entered the mainstream lexicon in the last decade, and it's no longer uncommon to see it plastered on everything from packaging at the supermarket to menus at your favorite local restaurant. But what does organic actually mean? In the United States, food is considered organic when it has been grown using only natural fertilizers, and contains no genetic modifications. If you're curious about the benefits of eating organic, take a look below at just three of the biggest ones.
Preservatives are often injected into food in order to make it last longer. While this means farmers can usually worry less about when exactly they ship their goods to various supermarkets, it also has the distinct disadvantage of sacrificing freshness in the process. Organic produce, for example, is usually sold both closer to the source (often a local family farm) and sooner after it is grown. So if freshness is a major concern for you and your family, organic food is hard to beat.
No Growth Hormones
When it comes to eating meat, the term "organic" usually refers to meat from an animal that has been grown without the artificial injection of hormones or antibiotics. While this of course means that livestock owners may not be able to turn as large of a profit, it also means that the animals being raised are done so in a far healthier, more humane manner. They often have more complete, nutritious diets, and are provided room to roam around. People who place a great deal of importance on ethically sourced meat almost always seek out organic food for these reasons alone.
In addition to preservatives and growth hormones, many of the foods consumed by the general population have been grown with the aid of pesticides. These chemicals keep insects and other pests from destroying crops, but many people worry about potential pesticide runoff, and what these chemicals do to the food and the soil in which it is grown. When buying organic, you can rest assured that no pesticides (or other toxic chemicals that target weeds and fungi) are used in the growing process. Modern agricultural techniques used on large farms may prioritize volume over quality, but organic growers and restaurants tend to do the opposite, valuing produce that — while perhaps slightly more expensive — is free of pesticides and other possibly harmful compounds.
To start eating clean, start with an organic restaurant in your area.