Our health and nutrition expert, Anu Paavola, questions whether organic food is truly better for your health than non-organic.
This is a question that I’ve often been asked and one that generates many lively debates in the media between aficionados of organic food and proponents of the food industry.
Intuitively, you would think that food grown in soil that has been rotated and not “nourished” by fertilizers and other toxins would be richer in nutrients. Soil where biodiversity is greater and has been nourished by organically-grown animals’ manure, would naturally be expected to give a greater nutritional content than soil that has been treated with synthetic chemical fertilizers from the petrol industry and various pesticides.
This often means that the quality of produce has been sacrificed for quantity, where the poor vegetable is manipulated to become a version that can withstand harder weather conditions, pests and cramped conditions. Yes, intuitively you would say organic is better.
You need a healthy digestive system to really benefit
However, even if we can prove that organic food gives a higher nutritional content (and logically we know it’s not healthy to be exposed to too many toxins) what we really get out of our food depends mainly on our digestive capacity.
If the digestive system is slow or irregular, the absorption of even the cleanest organic food is compromised. At that point it doesn’t make too much difference whether the food is organic or not because we’re talking about the nutritional content of food, not the toxins that non-organic produce contains.
When our digestion is faulty, the formation of tissues and energy is defective. No matter what they eat some people still have a variety of health issues like consistent tiredness, problems with our memory and issues with concentration.
So the question regarding the nutritional benefits of organic food needs to be seen in the context of our digestive capacity. If that capacity is poor, the healthiest and cleanest of organically grown foods will give less nutritional benefits and can even become toxic.
Of course, organic foods have other benefits
Ecologically it makes more sense eating organic food as it has been grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. A healthy gut naturally favours organic food and benefits from its higher nutritional content. Furthermore, even if the gut works perfectly the chemicals in non-organic food can be the cause of intestinal malfunctions.
If you are interested more in understanding more about your digestion, see Anu for a consultation at Jivita Ayurveda.