Currently, the world is operating what can best be called a refined and inorganic food nutrition system. But this current nutrition system is not sustainable, and it is destroying our health as well. Cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases – often coined as the diseases of modern civilization are now very common among many people largely due to our current nutrition habits. In contrast, an organic whole foods nutrition system is the direct opposite of what we are currently experiencing as common with large parts of the population.
Organic whole foods
In an organic whole foods nutrition system, we discover that the future of modern health lies in the food we eat. Nutrition based on organic whole foods reflects for many, a sustained dietary change which can however prevent and help manage cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
Organic foods are those which have been produced, stored, processed, handled, and marketed in accordance with precise standards and certified as organic by a certification body. Once a certification body has verified conformity with organic standards, the product can be labelled as (IFOAM).
Consuming organic foods is not the only way to increase nutrient consumption, but it may be also be the safest. Pesticide residues in conventional foods are often believed to be safe and within acceptable health limits. However, food monitoring programs are constantly showing that this might not be the case (Asghar, 2016). They find that nearly one in three non-organic food samples tested contain a variety of chemical residues at levels higher than those found in and on organic produce. Most pesticide residue safety levels are set for individual pesticides, but most fresh produce can carry multiple pesticides having a magnified negative impact on the reproductive, immune, and nervous system (Asghar, 2016). Organic food production prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and/or artificial preservatives. Consequently, organic foods are increasingly gaining popularity because a growing portion of the population wants to be assured of the safety and nutrition of their food (IFOAM).
Organic food is healthier
The public belief is that organic food is healthier compared to conventional products, and this is a primary reason for an increased demand over the past decade. Globally, consumption of organic foods is a growing trend in the world of today as people realize their personal needs for
healthy self-improvement. Nevertheless, finding accurate facts on organic foods has proven to be confusing as people have varied opinions on what counts as organic produce.
This counts especially for developing countries like Ghana where the majority is not even aware of the benefits of organic farming. These are some of the reason why people want to eat organic foods, Organic food consists of any crops or animal product produced without the use of pesticides, man-made fertilizers, additives, or growth regulators. Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. Feeding livestock animal byproducts increases the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Organically-raised animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which help to keep them healthy.
Also, organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients as results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised ones. In view of this, we hope to create these awareness to the general public.
No Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs)
In order for a product to be labeled organic, it cannot be grown from genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Few studies have indicated that there might be long-term health risks that we yet do not oversee. Like was the case for transfats, we did not know for many years what the true health risks were. This could also be the case for genetically-modified foods, where we continue to consume them only to realize the problems when then the damage has already been done.
It’s a fact that to stave off disease and reduce pests’ farmers will generally need to use some type of compound on their produce. However, there is a difference between using naturally-occurring compounds versus those that are created in a lab. Especially, the synthetically produced compounds often have the tendency to remain in the soil or even be absorbed by your body.
Chemical pesticides can be very harmful to the environment, entering our valuable ground water resources, permanently damaging the precious soil they leech into and thus having long-term effects on the body. Organic foods that reduce the use of pesticides and use natural deterrents (like antagonist organisms – predatory organisms also known as biocontrol) are a better alternative.
Better for the Environment
If there’s one reason to choose organic farming, it’s to save the planet! A
colossal amount of chemicals is used to treat non-organic produce, and the long-term damage to the surrounding soil should be a major cause for concern. Besides preventing the leeching of synthetic pesticides into the soil and water, organic farming helps to promote the health of surrounding wildlife who don’t find that their food and water sources have been contaminated.
Additionally, organic farming methods are used to ensure that the soil retains and replenishes its nutrients so there’s no need for synthetic fertilizers. Farmers also use innovative methods of planting (such as mixed crops or crop rotation) to help the soil feed the plants.
In conclusion, nothing is more valuable than health. Many face the same fate, working hard their whole lives, yet earning a spot on the hospital bed. Unfortunately, three statements from the hospital is enough to make you go bankrupt. Just because you feel strong today doesn’t mean you will feel strong 10 years later.
Many deadly chronic diseases begin to form from the slightest damages. Today, you still have the chance to prevent them by eating organic foods and following a healthy lifestyle.
In order to do this, people need to be educated and made aware of the negative impacts of conventional farming. This will enable them to make their own choices by starting to eat healthy organic foods, based on a wider knowledge of the contents of food available to them. Behavior change is the goal, whereas education is a key means to achieve this goal.
The writer is a chef and consultant dietician / CEO of Florganic foods and restaurant in Accra. He is a graduate of KNUST in Food and Nutrition, certified by IFOAM, and the Executive Secretary of Bio Ghana Network, an umbrella body of organic food exporters. [email protected]