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Organic foods nutricious and delicious: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help


The debate over organic foods is hot, research only recently demonstrated that it had more nutrients than its conventional counterparts - this was indeed good news to the organic food industry. The excitement was short-lived when it was then realised that the differences were only due to the simple fact that the organic foods contained less water than their conventional counterparts, so the supposed lower nutrient levels of conventionally grown foods was only due to dilution.

In 1999 the sperm was examined of 2 different groups of Danish farmers to see if there was any difference between them. The first group were conventional farmers and the second group were organic farmers, it was assumed that they ate produce from their land. 40 different pesticides were looked for in the sperm samples as well as the overall quality of the sperm, no significant difference was found between the two groups thus suggesting that conventionally grown crops were not harmful.

So if it is not nutrition then it must be taste that tempts so many people to spend considerably more on organically grown foods and that is where most people are in general agreement. Organic food often tastes better, this has not escaped the notice of conventional food growers. This can be witnessed particularly in the tomato growing industry, visit any supermarket and you will see tomatoes that are now grown for 'taste'. This is good news all round, if food tastes better then we are more likely to eat that bit extra. Perhaps having tastier fruit and vegetables will help increase the generally poor intake of fruit and vegetables and overall improve health.

Are there any other issues?

The principles of organic farming are based on sustainability, crops are rotated to obtain the maximum nutrients from the soil, and also to reduce dependency on renewable resources. Organic foods from supermarkets are sourced from around the World, the principles of reducing the need for renewable resources are lost if buying organically grown french beans from Kenya!

On the food scare side there has not been a case of BSE in cattle bred for their meat, this from the point of view of the supporters of organic farming is a good reason to believe that this method of food production is best for everyone.

What else do we need to know?

Because animal manure is used in preference to using chemicals great care should be used to wash all root vegetables to be eaten raw to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Cryptosporidiosis, a parasite found in calves' faeces, although uncommon can cause severe diarrhoea and death in the most vulnerable groups of the population.

There are very rare cases of some people being allergic to the chemicals used in conventional farming in which case it is essential to use only organically produced foods.

Some couples who have had trouble conceiving have found that by changing their diet to include organic foods have improved their chances of a successful conception. Research has yet to confirm or refute this, there are other factors to be also considered such as - is there a general improvement in the diet and health that is responsible for the improved conception?

Where else can we get help?

Consumers wishing to fulfil the principles of organic production can take part in 'box' schemes. Some farmers producing organic foods sell 'boxes' of organic seasonally available fruit and vegetables, these can be delivered to homes. Typically they will provide a weeks worth of food that they grown depending on what is fresh and in season, they may seek alternative sources if they are unable to provide adequate produce.

Farmers markets are also a method of buying locally produced foods though they may not always be organic.

For more information about organic foods: The Soil Association.

An independent UK watchdog on f