Staying Healthy: What Does It Really Mean to Eat Organic Food?

food, organic, scienceIf you haven’t hopped on the organic food bandwagon just yet, it’s not too late. Additionally, it might just be good for your health, according to results from a new study.

Researchers recently took a look at whether organic milk was more nutritious than the standard milk you can buy at the grocery store. They were able to determine that the use of organic product standards did in fact impact milk quality — milk from cows that primarily grazed on organics were able to produce more nutritious products.

According to NPR, the study went on to show that organic dairy and meet contains about 50 percent more omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids, which also come from nuts, oils and fish, can potentially lower blood pressure and heart rate, improve blood vessel function and reduce inflammation in the body.

But despite all of this new information, not everyone believes in the organic food hype. Perhaps you shouldn’t restock your refrigerator just yet.

“Such small changes are unlikely to represent any nutritional or health benefit,” Ian Givens, professor of nutrition at the University of Reading, told NPR.

So what’s the real deal about organics? Here are some pros and cons you can keep in mind for your next cocktail party.

1. Organics are free of pesticides and herbicides. These are the chemicals that can potentially spur illness and disease.

2. Organics don’t have any additives. This means that organics have more distinct flavors that are natural to the food.

3. Processed foods are less expensive. The downside of many organic foods is that they tend to be more expensive than their processed counterparts.

4. The shelf life of organics is short. Because there are no preservatives, the shelf life of organic food tends to be short compared to processed foods.

5. Organics can be hard to get. If you choose to go “only organic” with your food, you may run low on certain items, depending on the number of organic food providers in your area. Organic foods can take longer to produce than processed food.

6. Organic farming is good for the environment. Organic farmers use fertilizer, rather than chemical fertilizers, during the production process. They also conserve water and soil to minimize their impact on the environment.

Even if you can’t get behind an all-organic diet, it may still be worth considering some of the benefits. In the end, you may simply want to switch to make tastier meals at home. Weigh all of your options before you make a change.


Aubrey, Allison. “Is Organic More Nutritious? New Study Adds to the Evidence.” NPR. February 18, 2016.

Årednicka-Tober D, Barański M, Seal CJ, Sanderson R, Benbrook C, Steinshamn H, Gromadzka-Ostrowska J, Rembiałkowska E, Skwarło-Sońta K, Eyre M, Cozzi G, Larsen MK, Jordon T, Niggli U, Sakowski T, Calder PC, Burdge GC, Sotiraki S, Stefanakis A, Stergiadis S, Yolcu H, Chatzidimitriou E, Butler G, Stewart G, Leifert C. “Higher PUFA and n-3 PUFA, conjugated linoleic acid, α-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic milk: a systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analyses.” U.S. National Library of Medicine. February 16, 2016.

“14 Meaningful Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Food.” ConnectUS. Retrieved February 24, 2016.

“Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved February 24, 2016.

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