Health is now the single biggest concern for people living in the UK. Hardly a week goes by when our food isn't in the headlines. Artificial ingredients such as additives, E numbers and flavourings are increasingly coming under the spotlight. Greater links are being made with pesticides and diseases. As a result, more and more people are eating organic because they believe it is a better way to feed themselves and their family. So is organic food the solution to these issues, or is it just an overpriced fad that will soon blow over?
There is a growing body of research that shows organic food can be more nutritious for you and your family. Put simply, organic food contains more of the good stuff we need â€“ like vitamins and minerals â€“ and less of the bad stuff that we don't - pesticides, additives and drugs. Put simply, organic food contains more of the good stuff we need, and less of the bad stuff that we don't need.
Starting with the good stuff, no other food has higher amounts of beneficial minerals, essential amino acids and vitamins than organic food. Take organic milk â€“ according to research carried out by scientists in Britain and across Europe, organic milk has nearly 70% more essential fatty acid omega-3 than its non-organic equivalent. Essential fatty acids are essential for maintaining normal bodily functions.
Studies have also shown organic milk contains significantly more vitamin E and beta-carotene, an antioxidant that our body converts to vitamin A. The scientists say one of the reasons that milk from organic cows is so good is because they eat a much more natural diet, grazing freely on fresh grass and clover. In comparison, most non-organic cows eat a more grain-based diet containing cereals, maize and protein supplements.
We all know the importance of getting our five-a-day, but eating five organic fruit and vegetables a day is even better. A non-organic apple can be sprayed up to 16 times with 36 different chemicals, many of which cannot simply be washed off. The latest Government tests, carried out in 2005, found pesticides in 80% of non-organic apple samples.
The British Medical Association say that some pesticides can be stored in our body's fatty tissues for years, raising concern about them being carcinogenic (cancer causing), mutagenic (causing birth defects) and neurotoxic (damaging to our nervous system). As organic farmers predominantly use natural methods to control pests, choosing organic is the best way to avoid pesticides in your food.