Benefits of organic food

Discover the benefits of organic foods

When it comes to shaping your daily diet, organic foods have a great deal to offer you. If you are trying to understand the ways in which they can be beneficial, keep reading.

The modern world

Choosing organic food, using organic products and supplementing your diet with organic vitamins, herbs and food supplements is a great way to support the general health and well-being of you and your family in these modern times, in which mankind has unfortunately had a negative impact on the natural environment and the food chain.

Exposure to toxins

We are exposed to more toxic chemicals on a daily basis than ever before and the number keeps increasing. This places a significant burden on the body and, in particular, the liver and other detoxification organs.

It is therefore important that we take action by avoiding as many chemicals as possible (particularly in our diets) and ensure that we are keeping as healthy as possible in order to cope with this toxic world.

Live a life without toxins wherever possible

Globally, the awareness of the environmental harm and potential threat to human and animal health caused by deadly toxins (such as, for example, DDT, dieldrin and other insecticides), along with the excessive use of chemical fertilizers, has boosted the interest in organic farming and produce.

In recent years, health and the environment have become primary concerns for many people across the Western world, and consumers have become far more proactive in taking their health, and the future of the planet, into their own hands. As a result, organic products are now very much in demand, because living an organic lifestyle benefits both of these things.

Health benefits

Research has indicated that food produced using natural means typically has considerably lower quantities of nitrates and residues of toxic chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides than non-organic foods.

What’s more, recent research* showed that crops grown using organic farming methods are of a much higher nutritional quality than their non-organic counterparts.

If organically-grown produce contains higher levels of nutrients than their non-organic counterparts, the same goes for organic health supplements.

Organic supplements

Organic food supplements are natural products, which are produced from organically grown fruits, vegetables, plant-based foods etc.

They are not processed or synthesized and they have had no chemical compounds (including additives) introduced into their plants at any point – even at the time of harvesting.

Why are organic supplements needed? Is a balanced diet enough?

Given the realities of modern farming methods, manufacturing processes and diminishing soil quality, organic foods are helpful in terms of increasing your daily nutrient intake and keeping your toxic load down. However, sadly, even organic foods tend to require transportation, refrigeration and shelf-time; all factors that have an impact on nutrient content.

Organic supplements can therefore offer peace of mind, when it comes to ensuring that food nutrients are preserved. It is also possible to access a far higher number of ingredients (and therefore nutrients) in powder form, compared to whole food form. For example, organic superfood blends can cram in as many as 42 ingredients – not something you are likely to replicate in a salad!

Provided they are in raw, food form, such supplements can offer a clever way to boost your daily nutrition. And for some people, who are short on time or money, it is as close as they can get to enjoying the benefits of fresh, home-grown produce. These supplements offer excellent value for money, taking into account their ingredients and nutrient to calorie ratio.

*Information on the study sourced from the Soil Association website at https://www.soilassociation.org/organic-living/why-organic/its-nutritionally-different/
https://research.ncl.ac.uk/nefg/QOF/crops/documents/BJN%20Baranski%20et%20al%202014.pdf
https://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/articles/archive/2015/10/organicvsnon-organicfood/

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Plant based protein benefits

Plant-based protein

Who would opt for plant-based protein?

The most obvious groups who might opt for plant, as opposed to animal, protein sources are vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists and those following the Living Foods Programme.

However, you might be surprised to hear that, more and more, people from all walks of life and with varying lifestyles and health goals are opting for plant-based protein instead of meat, dairy and other animal products.

But why?

Plant-based nutrition

Why might you prefer plant-based protein?

Foods are either acid- or alkali-forming following the process of digestion.

Studies have found that sick people tend to have a blood pH within the acidic range, while it is thought that a neutral (or slightly alkaline) pH is required for healthy blood and the efficient delivery of balanced nutrients to the cells of the body. Meat and dairy products are at the top of the acid-forming list, along with foods high in sugar.

Similarly, a high level of protein from animal sources has been linked to a number of health risks and diseases, including arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney stones, diabetes, cataracts, heart disease and high cholesterol (given the high level of saturated fats found in meat and other animal products).

So how can we access high quality protein without these undesirable aspects?

Well, for those who think that animal products are the only food sources that rank as a first class protein, that is simply not the case. There is a surprising amount of protein in, for instance, fresh leafy greens and certain fruits and there are a number of plant proteins that are complete and balanced (or can be combined to be so).

The protein content of wheatgrass, for example, (which includes all of the essential amino acids) includes:

  • aspartic acid
  • glutamin acid
  • serine
  • glycine
  • histidine
  • arginine
  • tyrosine
  • alanine
  • proline
  • valine
  • methionine
  • cystine
  • isoleucine
  • leucine
  • threonine
  • phenylalanine
  • lysine
  • and tryptophan.

In addition, wheatgrass contains the following essential enzymes which are not made by the human digestive system:

  • oxidase
  • lipase
  • protease
  • amylase
  • catalase
  • peroxidase
  • tranhydrodinase
  • and superoxydismutase.

But wheatgrass is just one of many examples of top quality plant protein. There is also pea, hemp, quinoa, (non-GM) soya and many others.

This combination of protein, vitamins, minerals and exogenous enzymes is what makes all dark green, leafy vegetables such a fantastic nutritive food source, not to mention the nutritious pigment chlorophyll.

When they are juiced, or combined together in a superfood blend, the nutrients are available to the body more readily. Several large platefuls of greens would have to be eaten to obtain the same quantities of protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients.

Contaminants in traditional protein sources

In this modern age of toxic overload, many people are keen to lower their intake of, and exposure to, contaminants, chemicals and toxins to the lowest practicable level. One aspect of this is being careful about what they put into their bodies. For example, choosing organic foods wherever possible and avoiding foods containing additives and preservatives.

Unfortunately, because of modern farming methods and related commercial processes, meat and other animal products often contain a number of contaminants. These can include medications used on the animals (such as antibiotics), hormones, parasites and bacteria, which can be passed on to humans through the food chain.

For example, to keep the animals at high levels of productivity, dairy farmers will often keep them constantly pregnant through the use of artificial insemination. They will also use an array of drugs, including bovine growth hormone (BGH); prostaglandin, which is used to bring a cow into heat whenever the farmer wants to have her inseminated; antibiotics; and even tranquillizers, in order to influence the productivity and behaviour of the cows.

Ethical reasons to avoid animal protein

Even if a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is not for you, you might still want to opt for plant protein as often as possible for ethical reasons.

Many cows kept for milk, for example, live on factory farms in conditions that cause tremendous suffering to the animals. They do not spend hours grazing in fields, but live crowded into concrete-floored milking pens or barns, where they are milked two or three times a day by machines. Milking machines often cause cuts and injuries that would not occur were a person to do the milking. These injuries encourage the development of mastitis, a painful bacterial infection (which then leads to the administration of the medications and antibiotics mentioned above).

More than 20 different types of bacteria cause the infection, which is easily spread from one cow to another and which, if left unchecked, can cause death. In some cases, milking machines even give cows electric shocks due to stray voltage, causing them considerable discomfort, fear and impaired immunity and sometimes leading to death. A single farm can lose several hundred cows to shocks from stray voltage. Cows on today’s farms tend to live for only 4 to 5 years, as opposed to the life expectancy of 20-25 years enjoyed by cows in years gone by.

Environmental considerations

Similarly, large dairy farms can also have a detrimental effect on the surrounding environment. For instance, the manure produced can lead to the contamination of underground water, rivers and streams in the surrounding areas.

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Body cleanse and detox

What is body detoxification?

Broadly speaking, the aim of any detox programme is to eliminate toxins from the body that have accumulated over time, resulting in a healthier and more energised you.

There are countless ways to bring about the detoxification of the body and, as such, there are a wide variety of detox programmes out there to choose from.

Why do I need to detox?

Unfortunately, in this modern age, much of our food and water contains chemicals that are foreign (and often highly toxic) to our bodies. We are also exposed to an ever-increasing level of environmental toxins on a daily basis – even the air we breathe contains such compounds.

The liver is the body’s main detox organ. Every toxin taken in (whether eaten, drunk, inhaled or absorbed into the skin) will end up at the liver. However, the liver is part of a group of detoxification systems within the body and its role is to convert toxins into forms more easily excreted by the other organs comprising:

  • the digestive system – the natural health industry and most practitioners place great emphasis on the state of the intestines and bowels in terms of the health of our liver, lymphatic system and immune system;
  • the urinary system – the kidneys receive toxins that have been broken down and made water soluble by the liver, such as the end products of medications, organic chemicals, yeast and hormones;
  • the lymphatic system – this system filters the bloodstream of toxins and waste. Lymph nodes contain large amounts of white blood cells that attack bad bacteria and other pathogens;
  • the respiratory system – gas exchange is the main function of the lungs; inhaled oxygen is supplied to the blood and carbon dioxide is exhaled. The respiratory system has a number of mechanisms to reduce the amount of toxins entering the body. For example, the hairs in our nose trap dust and pollutants, which are expelled when we blow our nose;
  • the skin – the skin is our largest organ of elimination and, if working optimally, we can excrete a significant amount of water soluble toxins this way. Sweat has a similar composition to urine and is an important detoxification fluid, which is just one of the reasons why exercise is so important for good health.

Therefore, for the most part, our bodies have the ability to deal with the toxins to which they are regularly exposed. However, we can encounter difficulties if nutritional requirements are not being met and/or the level of toxins becomes too high.

For example, skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis are often treated by conventional medicine as conditions of the skin itself, when in reality, they are more often simply external manifestations of internal toxicity. Similarly, chronic constipation and IBS-type symptoms are virtually considered “the norm” because they are so common, when such symptoms are indicative of an underlying problem, most likely rooted in poor diet and toxin overload.

In such circumstances, a body cleanse and detox programme may be beneficial, along with dietary adjustments and supporting supplementation.

How does a body cleanse and detox work?

The human body is best able to make use of natural substances, which include fruit and vegetables and other natural foods, herbs and phyto-chemicals from plants. Any foreign, synthetic substances introduced into the body will induce some form of response from the immune system.

While there are many detoxification programmes available, they can differ quite significantly in their process and outcomes. Some focus on one particular system of the body, such as the digestive system (and the bowels in particular). Others may purify the liver, or the blood or seek to improve the function of the kidney or skin. A full body cleanse and detox programme, on the other hand, involves combining all of these detox regimes, which can then help to restore the body’s organs to their optimum levels.

Although different, many types of detoxification programmes will be beneficial, subject to your desired outcome and your particular health needs and goals. Most detoxification regimes that advocate lifestyle changes will have some beneficial effect. However, there are of course other factors to be considered, such as a sensible diet, taking regular exercise, drinking pure water etc.

How body cleanse and detox programmes work will depend on the type of programme being followed. For example, those focused on the digestive system will generally recommend a higher intake of natural, unprocessed plants (such as living or raw foods, high in digestive enzymes). These foods will contain the quality dietary fibre necessary for stimulating good bowel elimination. These foods will also usually contain the required levels of vitamins and trace minerals to nourish the eliminative organs mentioned above.  

Supplementation

Of course, changing dietary and lifestyle habits for the long-term can be a significant challenge, particularly with the pressures and time constraints of modern-day living. Whether undertaking a short-term body cleanse and detox, or seeking to introduce major lifestyle changes to address a serious health issue or simply improve upon your health, it can be helpful to include food supplements in the programme to offer additional support and promote better outcomes.

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