What Does Organic Really Mean?
Organic is in. Seriously, it’s impossible to go anywhere without finding shelves lined with organic foods, supplements and products proudly claiming organic ingredients. Do a quick search online and you’ll find a plethora of all things organic.
Organic products are literally everywhere and the market is only continuing to expand, but what does organic really mean? Is organic actually better? And what determines whether something is considered organic?
Let’s take a deeper look.
What Is Organic?
The organic food movement actually began in the 1940s. It was in response to drastic changes that were starting to take place in industrial farming, which included using synthetic chemicals and fertilizers to boost how much food could be harvested. During the 60s and 70s, organic practices became increasingly widespread.
It wasn’t until the early 2000s until the organic movement went mainstream, and eventually soon after exploded. In 2020, the global organic food market was worth $187 million, and by 2031 it’s estimated to be worth $860 million.
What Determines If Something Is Organic?
There are four core principles of organic farming: health, ecology, fairness and care. These principles are considered the roots of organic agriculture. The foundation of these principles is that organic agricultural practices should enhance the health of the soil, plant, animal and human as one, highlighting the fact that we are all intimately connected and mutually dependent on one another.
Organic practices work in harmony with nature, utilizing various techniques to ensure an abundant, healthy crop without the use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides or GMOs. Organic practices are those that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity, giving back to the environment by improving or maintaining soil and water quality and conserving wildlife, wetlands, and other natural habitats.
Whether it’s organic food or organic hemp, an “organic” product really begins in the soil in which its planted. Healthy soil is the foundation for our entire food system, containing the perfect balance of minerals and nutrients to feed plants and the right amount of healthy bacteria and fungi to ward off insects and disease.
Some of the key practices of organic agricultural practices include:
- Crop rotation: Growing different kinds of crops in continual succession on the same land, which helps increase soil health and nutrients while controlling pests and weeds.
- Cover crops: Using plants to cover the soil to decrease erosion, enhance soil health, improve water usage, control pests and weeds, increase biodiversity and more.
- Using manure and compost: Manure and compost help supply several nutrients and micronutrients, enhance soil structure and more.
- Companion planting or intercropping: Companion planting involves planting different plants near other plants that can help growth, deter pests, provide habitat for beneficial insects and more. Intercropping is growing two or more crops in close proximity to produce a larger yield on a piece of land.
- Controlling pests, weeds and disease with biological means: Using beneficial insects, predators, pathogens and other microorganisms that can inhibit harmful organisms.
- Using organic, non-GMO seeds: Seeds coming from non-GMO crops grown with natural fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. GMOs are prohibited in all organic products.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Organic Products?
Are organic foods and supplements really better for you? Honestly, it all depends on who you ask. Proponents of organic practices praise organic’s potential health benefits. Critics… claim organic is less efficient for cultivation, products are more expensive and that there’s no proof that organic is actually better for you.
Yes, organic products are typically more expensive, but what does science have to say about how healthy organic is? Following you’ll find three science-based reasons organic could be a better when it comes to maintaining optimal health and wellbeing.
- Organically-Grown Crops Contain More Antioxidants
There are several studies that show organic foods typically contain higher levels of antioxidants than non-organic food. Get this. Antioxidant levels in organic foods can be almost 70% higher than the same non-organic foods. One study even found that by trading regular fruit, vegetable and cereal products for organic, you’d can get more antioxidants in your diet.
- Organic Foods And Supplements Contain Fewer Harmful Chemicals
One of the biggest reasons people choose organic products is to stay away from artificial chemicals. One review found that organic food consumption can reduce exposure to pesticide residue and certain bacteria. Another study discovered that organic crops are almost 50% less likely to contain cadmium, a toxic heavy metal that can cause significant liver and kidney damage.
- Diets Rich In Organic Foods Could Protect Cell Damage And Boost Immunity
Because of their antioxidant content, research suggests organic foods and supplements could protect from cell damage while benefiting cell growth and reproduction. Their higher antioxidant levels are also believed to be a boon for immune function. One study even found that chickens that given organic feed had stronger immune systems than those fed a non-organic diet.
The Bottom Line On What Organic Really Means
Some of the biggest consumers of organic products are those individuals interested in naturally taking care of their health and wellbeing. Organic products are those that were produced in harmony with nature, preserve our natural resources and give back to the planet.
While there’s debate on whether organic is actually better for your health, we personally prefer what we put in our bodies to be as natural as possible. This is why all our products at Tay’s are created with organically grown hemp and the purest ingredients possible, exactly the way nature intended.