Does switching to organic food make a difference to your health?

With chronic diseases on the rise, people are switching to organic food, hoping to avoid the pesticides in the food chain – but does it make a difference?

What we put into our bodies is more important than ever, especially with chronic diseases and conditions on the rise. And while there is no definitive answer as to why this is happening, many people believe that pesticides in the food chain may play a big part.

To avoid these pesticides and chemicals, millions of people have switched to an “organic” diet.

But what does that mean?

And does organic food make a difference or is it just clever marketing?

Organic food study

What does organic mean?

The term organic food has been around for a while now. In fact, organic farming first began in the 1940s as a response to the industrialization of agriculture, but it was only with the rise of environmentalism in the 1960s that a market developed for organic produce.

This continued to grow throughout the 1970s, and by the turn of the millennium, organic farming was a billion dollar industry.

While there is no official defined term for organic food – each country has its own rules about what can and can not be labelled as organic – the general practice sees the adoption of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides and chemicals. Animals are not fed with growth hormones or feed additives, and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are generally prohibited.

Organic farming is also marketed as being good for the environment, and in general, this is true for a single farm field.

Organic farming uses less energy, emits fewer greenhouse gasses, nitrous oxide and ammonia, and causes less nitrogen leaching than a conventional field. However, organic farms produce a much lesser yield than traditional farming, and to grow the equivalent crops would need around 85% more land.

Does eating organic make a difference?

A recent study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Friends of the Earth, looked into whether switching organic food can make a difference to overall health.

The subjects of the study were four families across the USA, who volunteered for the experiment for two weeks. In the first week, the families would eat as normal, then in the second, they would all switch to an organic diet.

Researchers started by testing the urine of the volunteers for pesticides in their body.

Out of the 14 pesticides looked for, every single member of every family had detectable levels.

After a week of eating organic food, the subjects were tested again. This time the results showed that levels across all pesticides had dropped by more than half on average.

Tractor Spraying crops

What the results tell us

After only 6 days of eating organic food, the dramatic drop in pesticide levels in the bodies of the families clearly shows the difference in making the switch to organic makes.

While it may seem obvious that eating food with less chemical treatment means fewer chemicals entering the body, this is the first study to scientifically prove that specifically organic food helps reduce pesticide levels.

What this study does not show are the effects of those pesticides on health.

However, detectable levels for the malathion, a pesticide that “probably causes cancer” according to the World Health Organization, decreased by an incredible 95%.

Pesticides are also linked to an increased risk of autism, reduced fertility in women, and a higher rate of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Olivado’s organic commitment

One of our proudest achievements here at Olivado is this: our factory, and the farmers who supply the avocados, are certified organic.

We buy our avocados directly from small bio-diverse farms, and in order to ensure complete traceability from farm to bottle, we use our own picking teams.

Our field officers work closely with the farmers year-round, ensuring that they understand the requirements of their organic status and providing education in farm management, organic fertilizing and pruning.

We also believe in equality, fairness, and accountability, which is why all our produce is Fair for Life as well as certified organic by EcoCert IMO.

You can check out our range of incredible oils here, or head over to our Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up with the latest news and recipes.

If you would like to know more about us, or have any questions about our organic practices, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.

*This post was based on a Guardian article which you can find here.

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Olivado are leading the way in the avocado industry with our approach to regeneration, sustainability and utilising all waste to energy. We work hard to leave our communities and environment in a better state than when we started. We are carbon neutral now and we have made a commitment to be carbon positive by 2022. Shop with us and do your part for the planet.