The terms used in food labeling such as “free-range,” hormone free” or “natural” should not be confused or equated with the term “organic.” When an item is truly organic, only all-natural compost, fertilizers and pesticides may have been used in the growing of that food. Food does not necessarily need to be organic to be healthy, but non-organic foods do not have the same benefits that organic ones do. It is much easier to locate organic produce than it is to purchase organic meats ad dairy products, including eggs, because animal products that are labeled organic must never have been given antibiotics or growth hormones. Opinions differ on the value organically grown foods offer consumers over non-organically grown produce, so it’s best to be choosy about which foods you buy in the organically grown section and which ones you buy that are grown with more common methods. The accumulation and residue of pesticides on produce is a common factor used by many people when purchasing fresh produce. Researchers have looked over scientific articles written over the last fifty years regarding organic and non-organic produce consumption and have decided that the two types of produce are comparable with little difference between the them. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reflects this disagreement between scientists and researchers, as well. Other research has shown that organic produce is higher in phenolic acids and antioxidants than non-organic produce is.
Healthy cuts of meat are typically the leaner cuts, which have very little extra fat. However, farm-raised animals are known to have increased omega-3 quantities in their meat than those animals raised in feedlots. Feedlots are known to be less clean than farms, and animals are exposed more often to E. coli. Farm-raised meat may be more expensive, but it seems that eating meat from farm-raised animals is also much safer and healthier for consumers than the typical meat found on supermarket shelves, even if the meat isn’t completely organic.
Either option is still healthier than choosing heavily processed foods, though. Processing of food usually adds many additional ingredients that aren’t needed to meals, and processing also strips essential nutrients away, leaving foods with less nutrients and more ingredients that are sometimes harmful.