Yup, #OrganicSeptember is A Thing. And it could be a great thing
Fruit, vegetables, meat, even face cream – there are now a gazillion organic products on the market for if you choose to embrace your inner-Gwyneth and live clean. And this month sees the return of #OrganicSeptember, an initiative by the Soil Association to encourage us all to go completely organic for one month.
The benefits? Eating organic significantly reduces our exposure to potentially harmful pesticides and chemicals, whilst also helping to protect vital wildlife from dangerous artificial fertilisers. So you could say it’s win/ win.
We spoke to leading nutritionist Lily Soutter to find out how to live a little more organic this month , and why our bodies will thank us for it.
1. Organic food is a richer source of disease fighting antioxidants
This is because antioxidants protect plants when fighting against environmental stress without the help of pesticides. One study conducted by Newcastle University concluded that there is a 19-69% higher range of antioxidants found in organic food. Antioxidants are essential for protecting us against heart disease as well as cancer.
Lily says: ‘To ensure your produce is organic, look out for the Soil Association Organic logo, alternatively the EU Organic logo. Whilst most supermarkets stock organic products, you can always pop to an organic farmers’ market which can save you the pennies. Signing up for local box schemes which offer home deliveries is another great way to ensure you are receiving organic and sustainable products. Abel and Cole and Riverford Organic are well known for their quality and wide range of seasonal organic food.’
2. Organic food is a richer source of healthy fats
A 2016 study by Newcastle University, revealed that organic milk and meat contains around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. This is likely to be a result of increased outdoor grazing. Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function and better immune function.
Lily says: ‘Daylesford Farm is an award-winning organic farm in Gloucestershire. They have opened up several shops in London as well as having an online store. When shopping with Dayelsford you can be confident that you’re purchasing top quality organic meat and dairy.’
3. Organic food means you instantly minimise your exposure to artificial fertilisers, pesticides and other chemicals
Whilst there is an upper safe limit regarding pesticide use on crops, the studies that have devised these limits were tested in animals. This cannot entirely predict the effects in humans. What’s more concerning, is that the studies for these limits don’t take into account the long-term cumulative damage of the cocktail effect of pesticides on the body. A 2016 study tested a sample of strawberries that had up to 17 different pesticide residues. It is possible that it can take as long as 7 to 10 years to eliminate these toxins from our body.
Lily says: ‘If you struggle to shop organic, then Dirty Dozen is the app is for you. This handy app shows you the top 12 fruit and veg with the highest pesticide residues. It also shows us ‘the clean 15’ fruit and veg which have the lowest pesticide residues.’
4. You can be safe knowing your meat and fish won’t have been exposed to a lifetime of antibiotics and pesticides
Non-organic meat, diary and fish can be a surprising high source of pesticides. This is because pesticides found in animal feed can bio-accumulate in the fatty tissues. Intensive farming of poultry can also result in the overuse of antibiotics. This can lead to food-borne infectious bacteria making us immune to the effect of antibiotics. This antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant threats to human health.’
Lily says: ‘If choosing fattier meats, always go for organic where you can. Alternatively, remove the fat when eating. When choosing oily fish such as salmon, always opt of wild salmon.’