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Organic Food!

Organic Food News

—-freelance contribution from Helen Boden—

Right now is an incredibly exciting time for lovers of organic, seasonal and local cuisine. In the past, because of a lack of scientific research conducted into the benefits of consuming organic produce, little was known about its positive effects on our health. Over the past decade, however, many exciting studies have been carried out which show that organic food is, indeed, healthier, and that it can be used alongside other therapies to help everyone from those recovering from eating disorders, to those who simply wish to detoxify their body owing to illness or out of a genuine desire to be kinder to their bodies. In this article, we present a few of the latest findings about organic fruits and vegetables:

  • Organic fruits and vegetables have more antioxidants than conventionally grown produce: A new study published in July this year in the British Journal of Nutrition, surveyed 343 peer-reviewed publications which compared the nutritional value of organic vs conventional produce. Researchers found that conventionally grown produce is subjected to high levels of synthetic nitrogen, which causes them to produce starches and sugars. Organically grown produce is higher in antioxidants and also contains between 10 and 100 times less pesticide residues than conventional produce.
  • Conventionally grown produce contains twice the amount of cadmium, a toxic metal that builds up in the liver and kidneys and can cause serious damage. Because of the toll cadmium can take on the organs, nutritionists often recommend that produce grown with pesticides should be avoided by those with weakened immune systems, those aiming to detoxify their system and patients recovering from eating disorders, who need to obtain the maximum amount of nutrients from their foods. It could be said, however, that every family should consume delicious and pesticide-free meals, since the toxicity can build up in the body and cause disease in the long-term.
  • Organic standards have now gone global:  In the past, the international trade of (non-perishable) organic products between the US and other countries was hampered by differentiations in standards and certification requirements. According to the Institute of Food Technologists, however, great strides have been made in standardization. The Organic Trade Organization (OTA), the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service and the National Organic Program are currently negotiating with other countries to equalize organic regulations and control systems.
  • A study published in the Journal of Marketing shows that some chemical farmers are reticent to switch to healthier, more profitable organic farming because of a fear of changing ingrained belief systems. The lead authors of the study argue, however, that “the preservation of the agricultural world is at stake” so it is vital to find ways to inspire farmers to part with outdated ideologies.
  • Organic milk has higher levels of Omega-3 essential fatty acids than conventionally managed dairy farms. Omega- fatty acids are vital for keeping heart disease, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, cancer and a host of other disease at bay, yet the average person in the US consumes too many Omega-6 fats and not enough Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in abundance in wild Alaskan salmon and other wild fatty fish like tuna. The study, however, shows that organically produced milk can also have an important role to play in enhancing our health and keeping chronic illness at bay. Organically grown walnuts are another good, non-animal source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids.
  • Organic farms support more species: A fascinating study carried out at the University of Oxford showed that on average, organic farms contain 34 per cent more animal, plant and insect species than conventional farms. This means that the choice to farm organically not only benefits those who consume the produce raised, but also halts the continued loss of diversity. The scientists also found that the positive impact of organic farming was increased when the farms were situated within intensely farmed regions. The effect is even greater when the farms are surrounded by large tracts of arable land (land which is sown and harvested in the same agricultural year), since a veritable ‘island’ is created, one in which various plant and animal species can thrive.

Citations:, Eating Disorders, accessed November, 2014.

FoodSafety.Wisc.eduAll About Organic Foods, accessed November, 2014.

M Baranski, et al, Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition (2014).112,794-811., Organic Versus Non-Organic Food List, accessed Nomember, 2014. Primitive – Go Organic: Here are the Reasons Why, accessed November, 2014.

The Institute of Food Technologists, Organic Standards Go Global, accessed November, 2014.

EJ Arnould et al, Ideological Challenges to Changing Strategic Orientation in Commodity Agriculture. Journal of Marketing (2014). 78 (6): 103-119.



—-freelance contribution from Helen Boden—

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