Diet plays an essential role in disease and health. The foods we go for can assist in the prevention of numerous illnesses, hence improving the quality of life. In the local health food store or supermarket, there are more food varieties than ever before. What this does is that it brings about confusion in determining what food choices are really the healthiest.
People are opting for foods labeled natural or naturally grown over the conventionally grown ones. Natural foods can include vegetables, fruits, grains, eggs, dairy foods and to some extent poultry and meats. However, these foods can end up being more expensive compared to the conventional ones.
What Does The Term “Natural” Mean?
Natural foods are termed as those foods which are grown without the use of pesticide or synthetic fertilizers. Pesticides are control or control agents made to wipe out insects, fungal pests and weeds that harm crops. These have been shown to cause various illnesses such as cancer when they are in large amounts.
Natural foods don’t necessarily mean pesticide-free, as farmers can use natural pesticides like nicotine, copper, sulfur and these can contaminate them. Also, plants produce their own natural toxins that can also contaminate the foods making them unsafe for consumption. Naturally raised animals refer to the animals that are kept free from antibiotics and growth hormones and raised with organic feeds only.
Are “Natural” or “Naturally Labeled” Foods Safer For You?
The evidence is pretty conclusive with regards to pesticides. The chances of coming across pesticide residues are much high with natural foods compared to organic foods. Well, the reason for this is very clear: while organic foods are well regulated and monitored, their natural counterparts aren’t.
Therefore, you will not really know whether the food that is being presented to you as natural is really pesticide –free. Even more worrying is that the amount of man-made pesticides residues that are found in “natural” foods is in most cases well above the level that is deemed safe.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitor and regulate pesticides use and residues in organic foods. This is how “natural” or “natural grown” foods differ from their organic ones. The real problem for many people who consume natural foods is whether these small pesticide doses, over decades, might contribute to an increased health risk along the way.
Organic foods also come with strict rules concerning the level of natural contaminants that are allowed for safe consumption. These foods have also been shown to only contain small levels of these unsafe contaminants.
Whether you choose conventional or organic foods, health experts agree that the ideal way to guard yourself is by thoroughly rinsing all vegetables and fruits under running water. You should also even wash foods with inedible skins, like watermelons, since cutting the rinds using a knife can introduce contaminants to the inside.
How Do Appearance and Taste Compare To Conventional Foods?
Researches show no significant difference in flavor between grown and organic grown foods. Rather, taste. Differences seem to come from the foods’ growing conditions, their variety, their harvest time and maturity. Unlike the past, most of the organic foods that are available today compare very well in appearance with “natural grown” foods.