Going organic seems to be the current green trend that’s doing rounds across the world. Testimony to this is the increasing demand for organic, which appears to have touched a new peak. Organic sales have risen, home delivery of organic products is also seeing an increase, clear indications that organic foods have hit a ‘high spot.’

So what’s special about organic products? Well, they are apparently produced without using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and are not subjected to ionizing radiation. Meat and dairy products come from animals that are not injected with growth hormones or antibiotics.

Pesticides are always looked at with askance and associated with cancer and carcinogens that could genetically alter and damage the DNA or chromosomes. Phosphate fertilizers contain high levels of heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury and lead.

Organic foods have lower levels of heavy metals and are rich in phytonutrients that act as antioxidants. So do organic products score over the conventional ones? Are they worth the high price (almost thrice that of regular foods) that you pay for them or are they overrated?

The fact that organic food is grown using green manure, crop residues, animal manure and legumes and is free from hazardous products has been the point of focus while touting its benefits. Though pesticides are used on regular fruits and vegetables, research shows that the levels of pesticide are not really harmful.

The picture changes when the focus shifts to nutrients. Although it’s widely believed that organic foods are more nutritious, fresher, studies from the Stanford University School of medicine indicate that they didn’t find that to be the case.

Studies pooh-poohed the idea that organic foods were different from the regular foods- as the nutritive value of both appeared to be approximately the same. Thus, the health benefits of organic and conventional products appeared to be not very much different. The growing hype about organic farming also seems to have taken a beating.

French and Swedish scientific studies that were undertaken to assess the value of organic foods, also came up with an identical answer- that organic was not necessarily a more nutritious or healthier option.

In fact, it was shown that certain organic vegetables and cereals had a lower concentration of protein than did the conventional produce, but a greater percentage of essential amino-acids. Levels of trace elements and minerals present in both types of produce were not very much different.

As such there is nothing to really indicate that organic scores over its conventional counterpart. That being said, there’s nothing to suggest that organic is not a good option. So go for it if you can afford it. If you can’t, you don’t get a bad deal if you settle for conventional produce.

Organic has been hyped up to make it appear as if it is the ‘panacea for all ills’, when in reality it isn’t so. Organic or no, make it a point to enjoy your veggies and fruits without dwelling too much upon whether pesticides have been used or no.

However, soak them in water and wash them well before ingestion- if that’s done, the pesticides (at least most of it) washes away and regular produce will then probably be on par with organic produce.

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