Youd think by now that a term likehealth food would be considered redundant. I mean, doesnt it follow that if its food, it should be healthy? My own firm grasp on the obvious notwithstanding, international debates about the benefits of eating organic vs. the risks of gnoshing conventional foods persist and so do the scientific studies.
Enter Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. A team of researchers there released findings from a recent study confirming that organic fruits, veggies, and grains are healthier than conventional, pesticide-laden, genetically modified, and processed foods.
Research data collected by an international team of experts concluded that organic foods contain as much as 60 percent more antioxidants than non-organic foods.
Organic food is also less toxic by up to a whopping 50 percent--containing lower levels of pesticides and heavy metals [specifically cadmium, lead, and mercury] than non-organic foods. In fact, non-organic foods are 4 times more likely to contain pesticides than their organic counterparts.
These findings come just 5 years after another UK study determined that there was no benefit to eating an organic diet at all! Huh? This more recent study was broader and far more comprehensive in terms of the number experts involved as well as the food analysis methodology.
Antioxidants could also be called anti-deterioration-agents if there were such a term. They inhibit oxidation and consequently the deterioration of foods. Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E, as well as beta carotene remove oxidizing elements in living foods. I would compare it to the benefits of rust-proofing your car, but that metaphor isnt very appetizing, is it?
Okay, maybe thisll work better: ever cut an apple and have it turn brown on you? Well, thats a form of oxidation! Exposure to the air can cause oxidation and the evaporation or deterioration of vital nutrients in the apple. An antioxidant is a chemical that prevents or slows down cell damage and retards oxidation in living things--including living food.
The Newcastle study found that the levels of antioxidants [like polyphenolics, for example] were at 18 to 69 percent higher concentrations in organic foods. All this scientific data is really good news for your cardiovascular system and any part of your body that could fall victim to cancer.
To Market! To Market!
A grocery list of antioxidant-rich foods is a cornucopia of gastronomic delights:
blueberries, cranberries, artichokes, raspberries, strawberries, pinto beans, red kidney beans, pecans, plums, grapes, walnuts, Brazil nuts, russet potatoes, and, of course, that red delicious apple.
While this information isnt news to millions of organic-food lovers and vegans around the world, there are still some cynics. One of their biggest bones of contention [pun intended] is the fact that organic agriculture costs more and so does the food it produces.
True. We might have to pay more on the front end for labor, farm management, and non-toxic planting techniques, but wouldnt we save money on the back end by reducing debilitating health risks, skyrocketing medical costs, and the negative environmental impact?
In a perfect world, wed end the debate, fight to cut the costs of organic farming, and embrace organic food, thereby eliminating a lot of diseases, and a whole lot of human suffering. Thered be no health food, or junk food, or processed food. Thered just be food! Im just sayin.