We are what we eat, as the old saying goes. Yet sometimes it is easy to forget that memorable adage when our senses are being constantly assaulted with a bombardment of advertizing related to food choices, many of which are not the best ones for us. How can we be more conscious then, not only of what food we put into our bodies, but also of the greater impact that food has on both our own health, as well as the health of our communities and the planet as a whole? Being informed about these choices empowers us to decide what is right for us when it comes to making conscious choices about food.
Here are eight reasons why we should go for organic food:
1. Eating organic helps protect the supply of clean drinking water.
Since organic farmers do not use pesticides, they are not contributing to pesticide contamination of our nation’s groundwater and aquifers, which is an important issue to consider when doing your food shopping. Even if you don’t live near a farm, it is important to realize that many pesticides used on farms are carried by water to other areas. If we are what we eat, then we are also what we drink. So, supporting organic farms not only helps us avoid putting pesticides into our bodies through our food, but also lessens the level of pesticides we may be consuming through our water.
2. Eating organic may help lower the chances of neurological disorders such as autism.
Although the real cause of autism is still under debate in the scientific community, there are some findings that the ingredient Glufosinate ammonium (GLA) which exists in many herbicides causes neurological damage and may contribute to the rise of autism.
3. Eating organic contributes to a more healthy work environment for farm workers.
One of the more shadowy effects of eating food that has been grown with pesticides is the impact that it has on those workers on farms where the crops are sprayed with pesticides. The level of harm can be twofold, both in the act of harvesting the crop as well as in the handling and spraying of the pesticides used on the crops. There are many reports that address this issue. So, the next time you buy an organic fruit or vegetable know that you are supporting a healthier and more sustainable vision not only for yourself, but also for farm workers.
4. Eating organic helps us create a more healthy environment for the world’s bee population.
Bees are the primary pollinators of the world’s crops, and yet recent scientific studies show a harmful relationship between some neonicotinoid pesticides and bee brain functions. This becomes even more exacerbated when other pesticides are added, contributing to an already major decline in the world’s bee population, as told in a study, published in March 2013 about bees and neonicotinoid pesticides.
5. Eating organic helps us honor both the birds and the bees.
We often use the term “the birds and the bees” when it comes to human reproduction, and this term holds true as well for the negative impact of neonicotinoid pesticides. Not only do they harm the bee population but also the bird population, if not the entire food chain. According to one researcher even a corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a song bird. By eating organic, you are helping liberate the larger ecosystem from our dependance on toxic agricultural practices that are lethal to other life forms.
6. Eating organic means less exposure to pesticides linked to aggressive prostate cancer.
A report by Agricultural Health Study links exposure to certain pesticides with aggressive prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer men suffer from. So please be careful with what you eat.
7. Eating organic helps protect our oceans by reducing nonpoint source pollution.
Much of the runoff that happens during large rainstorms eventually brings pesticides and chemical fertilizers into the world’s oceans and seas. This type of pollution is part of a larger problem called nonpoint source pollution. Since organic farming practices refrain from the use of both pesticides and chemical fertilizers, you are supporting healthier oceans when you shop organic.
8. Eating organic leads to even more people eating organic.
By eating organic you are voting with your buying power, voting for more sustainable farming practices, voting for cleaner water, voting for protecting the fabric of life that includes the birds, the bees and all living things. In the long run more organic foods will be available. As that message grows, it opens doors for more local health food stores that include organic choices, and also serves as a reminder for larger supermarkets and chain stores to do so as well. Eating organic is presently a privilege not available to all communities. Typically, the organic choices are more readily offered to those who live in more affluent neighborhoods, and can be challenging for all people to have access to. So, if you want to help others have access to organic food, send that message to the food industry by buying more organic food. Think of each purchase as a vote for all to have access to food that is safe and pesticide free.
Featured photo credit: Dale Janzen via flickr.com