Have you ever wondered about the benefits of organic food?
There are so many benefits of eating organic food both for your gut health and overall wellbeing. I’ll get into some of these benefits here, but know that there are many more.
By eating organic, you’ll improve your body’s ability to absorb and use the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from your food. You’ll also avoid many harmful additives such as toxins, chemicals, GMOs, antibiotics, and hormones commonly found in conventionally-raised food.
Nature has a rhyme, reason, and intelligence that promotes your health in powerful ways. Trusting the natural processes and consuming foods as nature intended will help you reap the most benefit from your food.
It’s safer to buy organic, whole foods than it is to eat conventionally farmed food.
Commercial, organic farming isn’t perfect. Often organic and conventional farmers both practice monocropping, which depletes the soil of valuable nutrients. And, organic farmers can still use a mix of organic fertilizers and organic chemicals on their crops.
However, the U.S. standards and regulations are much more stringent for organic farming than for conventional farming. Therefore, organic practices dramatically cut down on the chemical residues that make it into your body and into the earth.
As there are more standards on organic farming, buying organic food is a consistent way to make sure that you’re avoiding some of the most harmful additives. With many conventionally raised crops, meat, eggs, and dairy, there’s no guarantee. And marketing claims can often be deceiving, making us think our food is healthier than it actually is.
The Benefits of Organic Food for Your Gut Health
1) Organic, whole foods help your body and mind to be clear and ready to perform.
- The quality of the food you eat literally affects every cell in your body. The best fuel for your cells is nutrient-dense, whole, and organic food. Feeding your body in this way will help it cleanse, detox, and be ready for what life brings.
- Your digestive system has a major impact on cleansing and eliminating toxins and chemicals from the body. The gut influences these processes both directly and indirectly through elimination and detox processes.
- The gut affects the health of your brain, the systems, and functional processes throughout the entire body, and the connections between the two. So, what you put into your body is super influential on your overall health. To read more about how to improve your gut health, click here.
- When you feed your body nutrient-void, chemical-ridden foods, you’re depleting yourself on a cellular level. Doing this consistently will promote ongoing inflammation, which can lead to a wide variety of chronic health conditions.
2) Organic vegetables feed the good bacteria in your gut, which play an essential role in your overall health.
- The good bacteria in your gut feed on vegetables, fruits, beans, and seeds among other soluble plant fibers.
- The benefits of organic food for these good microbes are that you’re providing them the best fuel without the toxins and chemicals.
- Toxins and chemicals on conventional crops, meat, dairy, eggs, and processed and refined foods destroy the good bacteria in the gut and feed the bad bacteria. This creates an unhealthy balance (dysbiosis) in the gut, allowing the bad bacteria to proliferate.
- The good bacteria require consistent, high-quality, chemical-free, soluble fiber in order to promote good digestion and overall health.
Here are some reasons to keep these beneficial bacteria fed, alive, and well:
The good bacteria in your gut provide your first line of defense against pathogens as they come in.
They help to keep the bad bacteria at bay in multiple ways:
- By taking up space in the gut and preventing pathogens from taking over and offsetting the digestive system.
- By creating an unfavorably healthy environment for the bad bacteria.
- The good bacteria produce toxic metabolites that specifically kill pathogens without harming the rest of the gut.
The good bacteria in your gut play an important role in many functions in the body.
- Good bacteria help digest our food and regulate motility and hunger.
- They help to establish the proper PH for digestion to occur at the right pace. When digestion is slowed, food starts to ferment in the gut, causing a variety of related problems. When it’s too fast, it’s hard to absorb essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
- Good gut bacteria produce beneficial nutrients, vitamins, amino acids, neurotransmitters, enzymes, and immune regulating molecules for your body.
- They send signals to the immune system and play a role in regulating inflammation.
- The good gut bacteria help to regulate your hormones and mood.
- They send signals to the immune system and play a role in regulating inflammation.
- Bacteria help with communication within the body by sending chemical signals via hormones and neurotransmitters.
- They literally transform our leftovers into vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fatty acids, converting our waste into valuable nutrients.
3) You’re avoiding many of the most toxic herbicides and pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics that are on or in conventionally-raised food.
- These chemicals and additives are used for pest and infection control and fertilizers on conventional crops, dairy, eggs, and meat. They not only destroy the good bacteria in the gut, but also overburden the digestive, detoxification, and immune systems.
Organic Food Gives Your Body a Break From Toxins.
- By minimizing toxins and chemicals that come into your body through food, you free up your detox organs to deal with other pathogens and stressors coming in from the environment. We’re all overburdened with toxins from living in our modern world. Any way that you can give your body a break, is helpful. One of the major benefits of organic food is that it minimizes this constant source of stress on your system.
- Round-up is very dangerous to your gut and overall health and is found on conventional crops here in the U.S, but banned in many other countries and on organic food. Its active ingredient, glyphosate, destroys the good gut bacteria and the lining of your gut. Glyphosate binds to many important minerals, leading to nutrient deficiencies. Over time, the accumulation of this toxic chemical can cause a whole slew of chronic health problems.
4) By eating organic, you’re avoiding genetically modified organisms or GMOs.
- GMOs are often genetically modified to protect plants from pests and to help the plant tolerate pesticides.
- These GMOs have detrimental effects on your digestive tract, again affecting the good bacteria in the gut and the health of the protective mucosal lining. When this lining is broken down, unwanted particles, substances, and toxins get into the bloodstream where they don’t belong, causing inflammation and the immune system to react.
- Chronic inflammation is at the root of most chronic diseases.
To learn more about the gut microbiome and how to improve your gut health, check out my recent blog post, “5 Ways to Improve Gut Health.”
The Benefits of organic food for the planet
I can’t discuss this topic, without briefly mentioning the benefits of organic food for our planet. There are many benefits of sustainable and organic food and farming practices for the world we live in.
Much like the gut, it’s crucial for the good bacteria in the soil to thrive in order to produce healthy food and not deplete the soil of its nutrients. These conscientious farming practices help the earth to flourish. When our planet is healthy, it’s possible for each of us, the animals, and the varying ecosystems on the planet to be healthy as well.
So, as important as eating organic food is for your gut, it’s just as important for the earth. In turn, a healthy earth, with fewer toxins and chemicals and more nutrients in the soil, will allow us to eat more quality food, drink cleaner water, and breathe cleaner air. Thus allowing us (and our guts) the chance to be healthier as well.
You can grow your own organic food
Starting your own organic vegetable garden is an incredible way to promote gut health and you’ll get to eat quality organic produce regularly.
- To get started, buy organic seeds or starts from your local nursery or farm. Our friends at Uprising Organics have a variety of high-quality organic and heirloom seeds, grown using sustainable and conscientious practices.
- You’ll have complete control over what you put in and on your garden and can avoid even the certified organic pesticides and herbicides.
Your veggies retain more nutrients the sooner you eat or freeze them. They lose nutrients in transit and on the grocery store shelves, so straight out of the garden is the best way.
Eat dirt! Not just any dirt and I don’t recommend it by the handful. Try shaking off, but not washing your garden-grown veggies. You’ll get more of the good bacteria and microbes that live in the soil to further enhance your gut microbiome
When you put your hands in the dirt, you’ll also pick up these beneficial microorganisms by contacting the soil.
Quality Soil is Key
The quality of your soil has a major impact on the richness of nutrients in your food. By growing your own food, you have much more control over the soil quality.
By rotating what you’re planting, the location of your plants in the garden, and by adding compost and nutrients seasonally, you can help to boost the soil instead of depleting it year after year.
Gardening can be a fun hobby, a great way to get outside and connect to nature, and can save you money! Not to mention you’ll be eating the creme de la creme of vegetables, straight out of your garden and onto your plate.
Here are a few things to consider when purchasing organic food:
Buying organic is the best option to avoid chemicals and toxins in your food. The closer to the source your food is, the more likely it is to maintain essential nutrients and vitamins.
Buy local and in-season if possible.
When you buy produce locally, it’ll retain more of its nutrients and vitamins, because you’re closer to the source. When food is shipped across the country or the world it spends days getting to you and loses many of its nutrients along the way. Often small organic farms practice crop rotation and use less toxic chemicals and practices. I invite you to visit your local farmers market and talk to your farmers about their practices. These farms can be excellent food sources. Look for both certified or uncertified organic produce.
Prioritize buying organic meat, eggs, and dairy.
Meat, eggs, and dairy can be loaded with antibiotics and added hormones, which destroy your good bacteria in the gut, impact the integrity of the gut lining, mess with your hormone balance, and can cause many other problems in your body. Buying humane certified, organic animal products can have a huge impact on your health.
Look at the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.”
You can use these lists to prioritize what foods are most important to buy organic. “Dirty Dozen” foods have the most chemical residues on them, while the “Clean Fifteen” is a list of fruits and veggies that have the least amount of chemical residue and will be less harmful if they are conventionally grown. Some of the foods on the clean fifteen are genetically modified crops such as corn and papaya, so buy organic when possible with those crops.
Know your sources.
If you can’t buy locally, try to buy from reputable sources like your local health food store or a company with ethical and conscientious practices. In America, the food industry, unfortunately, suffers from many poor and deceptive practices. Although this may not be the case everywhere, it’s good to be aware of where your food is coming from and how it’s grown and raised.
Awareness is Key
The organic industry has exploded and there are many “organic” processed and refined foods. Organic foods aren’t necessarily healthy just because they’re organic. Rather they must be whole nutrient-dense foods that provide nourishment to the body.
I invite you to start reading labels and begin to incorporate this practice into your lifestyle. In taking up this practice, you’ll increase your awareness and can make informed choices about the food you eat. My family has found some delicious, ready-made treats, and snacks that we feel good about feeding our kids!
It’s empowering to know what’s in and on the food you eat and feed your family. This awareness can help to dramatically improve your gut and overall health.
I hope this post helps you understand a little more about the benefits of organic food on your gut and overall health, as well as the benefits for the health of our planet. Our health relies on the health of the world we live in, as this is where we eat, drink, breathe, and absorb every day of our lives. Take care of the earth and she will take care of us.