Are Organically Grown Foods Really More Nutritious?
This is the 3rd in a Hub Series...
This is the third is a Hub Series on Organic Gardening at home. In Parts one and two we looked at the basics of how anyone with any size space can do some organic gardening,and why it's important for our health and the earth to reduce use of and exposure to synthetically created pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. In this segment we look at a the improved nutritional aspects of organically grown produce.
Is it true that organically grown food is more nutritious?
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus; Yes, Horatio, there are more things in heaven and earth than in your imagination; and yes organically grown food does have a higher nutritional content that food products produce with conventional synthetic chemical treatments!
Many studies have shown that food grown organically has more antioxidants than food grown using conventional methods. The reason for this phenomena is much like the concept that a good wine grape must be grown in soil that makes it struggle. Many plants have a survival mechanism that kicks in when the plant is stressed. Natural stresses, like insects, diseases, or weather extremes, cause plants to produce flavonoids (a type of antioxidant). Plants that are over protected have no ability to use their natural defensive mechanisms and to become stronger and produce more nutrients.
Organic growing methods increase antioxidant levels anywhere from a few percent to as much as three times the amount found in conventionally grown produce. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, scientists studied antioxidant levels in three commonly-grown crops: corn, blackberries, and strawberries. They grew tow groups of plants, one using organic methods, the other with standard modern methods using chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
What they found was nothing short of shocking:
- The organically grown corn had a 58.5% higher level of antioxidant vitamins.
- The organically grown blackberries had a 50% rise in antioxidant nutrients.
- The strawberries had 19% more antioxidants when grown organically over conventional methods.
A diet high in antioxidants can fight against the effects of aging, cancer, muscle and joint pains, skin disorders, type 2 diabetes, and boost the immune system. Organic produce typically has higher levels of other nutrients as well: iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
Organic gardening is a way to a healthier life. Even small changes add up an contribute to your overall health. Whatever you grow, grow organically! This applies to all of your gardening… not just food stuffs. Eat organic produce as often as you can, if you can grow your own, all the better. Try to use your own power to accomplish routine lawn and garden chores; a push mower for most lawns, hand powered clippers and trimmers. Avoid using any gas powered tools around your gardens. Not only will you have healthier plants, you'll feel better and have the peace of mind of knowing that you're living in a more environmentally healthy way.
Organic Produce - YUM!
Is it expensive to grow organically at home?
Not really... in fact organic doesn't have to mean more expensive. Chemical fertilizers tend to cost the same or more as natural ones, not to mention that do things like composting kitchen scraps to reduce costs. Pesticides and herbicides, another major expense of gardening, can be reduced or eliminated with some careful thought and planning. Simply by choosing plants that thrive in the environment you're growing in, will boost the plants ability to fend off predators. Learning to plant complimentary plants that naturally ward of the buggers helps a great deal also.
I hope you have enjoyed this Hub Series on Organic Gardening.The next hub will give you actual recipes for home made products to use on your organic garden - no need to buy expensive brands. These are real "old time" recipes used for generations - and they work.
This is one of my favorite topics and, passions, and loves. As always, I welcome and comments or questions that you have about this hub and the series. Please let me know if there is an area of gardening that you would like to know more about or any other a topic for that matter! I love to share information!! Blessings and happy gardening.