At many supermarkets, you have the choice to buy organic food. There are also shops that only sell organic food. It is often claimed that organic food is healthier. Is that true? In this article, I explain that.
What is organic food?
Organic food strives for the lowest possible environmental impact and good animal welfare. There are strict legal requirements that a product must meet before it can be called ‘organic'.
For example, chemical pesticides, genetically modified organisms, and fertilizers may not be used. The traders, importers, and storage companies also have to adhere to strict regulations.
E-numbers of natural origin is allowed. Ensuring animal welfare is also a criterion.
There is also biodynamic food. In addition to the criteria for organic food, these farmers and horticulturists adhere to even more requirements. The requirements relate to animal welfare, soil quality, nature, and the landscape. The aim is to have a connection between plants, the cosmos, and animals.
Benefits of Organic Food
Non-organic foods and organic foods are generally equally safe. Nevertheless, there are a number of factors that sometimes make organic products healthier. You can read more about this below.
Nitrate in organic products
Some organic vegetables contain less nitrate. This is because as little fertilizer as possible is used when harvesting organic vegetables.
Nitrate is naturally present in vegetables, fruit, and drinking water. Nitrate forms nitrite. Nitrite is harmful to health in certain amounts. Some vegetables are also nitrate-rich, such as lettuce, pointed cabbage, and spinach. The health risks from eating these vegetables is very low.
The nitrate content in vegetables can rise due to the use of (artificial) fertilizer.
Organic dairy and meat
Organic farmers generally use veterinary medicines less often. These are medicines used to treat animals. As a result, there may be fewer residues of these veterinary medicinal products in organic food (such as dairy and meat).
The veterinary medicinal products that may be used have first been approved by the European Union. It has been investigated which concentrations in food can have a negative effect on the health of people. There should therefore be a defined period between when the medicine is used and when the food (e.g. meat and eggs) is obtained.
Better resistance to animals organic farming
Usually, animals have more freedom in organic farming. This can lead to less stress and a better immune system.
Organic animals often grow more slowly, because they get a normal amount of food. They often also live longer because of their better ability to recover from illness. This allows them to grow over certain infections, such as salmonella.
Disadvantages of organic food
In addition to the advantages, there are also a number of disadvantages of organic food. Read on to find out what the possible disadvantages of organic food are. I'd be happy to tell you more about it.
Getting infections faster
Because the animals have more freedom, they come into contact with other animals more quickly. This increases the chance of contracting a hearing infection.
Dioxin in eggs
The amount of dioxin is higher in organic eggs than in non-organic eggs. This is probably because organic chickens ingest dioxin through the soil.
This is not the case with broilers, because this animal has a very short life.
Can you lose weight from organic food?
Some people think that organic food makes you lose weight faster. This is not the case. The number of calories in organic and non-organic foods is basically the same.
You can lose weight by consciously choosing healthy food. Some organic foods are less processed, which means they contain fewer calories. However, an organic apple and a non-organic apple contain the same amount of calories.
The content of this article is based on scientific publications and was written in collaboration with medical specialists/nutritionists.