Staying Healthy With Whole Foods

Farming organic foods decreases the amount of pollutants in our groundwater and creates richer plant soil, says the Organic Trade Association. It is also believed that the absence of pesticides allows plants to produce more natural vitamins and antioxidants.

It has yet to be proven whether these chemicals are linked to cancer, but some people would rather play it extra safe and spend the extra money to buy these products, thus ensuring a healthy diet.

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Many people are often confounded when standing in the produce section, looking at the organic foods, conventional foods and healthy weight foods. For instance, both tomatoes may look plump, juicy and red but one is labeled “organic” and the other is not. They both provide vitamins, antioxidants and nutrition, but what are the differences?

Conventional farmers use chemical pesticides to keep pests and plagues away from their vegetables. They use chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth, and manage weeds using chemical herbicides. They may also give their animals antibiotics, growth hormones or medications to prevent illnesses and encourage growth.

By contrast, organic foods meet strict governmental standards for certification. Organic labels can read 95% organically produced, 100% organic or “made with organic ingredients,” which implies 70% of organic ingredients or more.

There are other food labels in the whole foods market that say “all-natural,” “free-range” or “hormone-free.” While similar and important, these are not the same as the regulated organic food seals.

In many ways, organic foods are more of a lifestyle choice than an actual safety concern. The huge shift toward environmentally-conscious practices is driving consumer trends toward this pesticide and hormone-free diet.

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When shopping whole foods, it is important to read the label to see what is being purchased exactly. Many items masquerade as being “organically produced,” but may not meet all government standards.

Only “USDA Organic” labeled products have been government-certified. Certainly, there are many points to consider when grocery shopping and buying your favorite foods for meals and snacking, so it’s important to research and identify which issues are most pressing.