You may be wondering what organic food has to do with back pain. The saying ‘you are what you eat’ holds a lot of truth. Pain is the result of inflammation in the body and chemicals and any unnecessary burden on your body can contribute. So we asked Joanne Hart Nutritional Therapist to give her expert opinion. Grab a glass of water sit back and enjoy…
Is Organic Food Worth the Money?
Only you can put a price on your future health and current health so let me educate you on the reasons you might like to move towards organic food.
From a nutrition perspective we are interested in organic for three main reasons.
1. It’s about what doesn’t go into organic.
2. It’s about reducing the overall load of unwanted chemicals going into our body.
3. We know that some organic food has increased nutritional benefits.
Then there’s a 4th reason, which may not be a nutritional benefit but is actually ethical, and that is animal welfare where we can all make a choice.
Let’s start with what doesn’t go into organic food.
Organic foods are grown with fewer pesticides than non-organic and products made from organic foods are free of artificial preservatives and additives. Natural fertilisers are used, there is no artificial fertiliser. Animals are not fed GM (genetically modified) animal feed, and less antibiotics are used because they cannot be used as routine or preventative. By choosing organic you get less of these chemicals in your body.
Then the second point was about reducing the overall load of unwanted chemicals. While the chemicals on our food have been tested for safety, what hasn’t been done is to test the combination of all those chemicals together. I often hear people saying that our body can detox what we eat and that it will naturally cope. However, our body physiology hasn’t really changed from when we were caveman or cavewoman, we eat much less fruit and vegetables and we are also contending with pollution, alcohol, caffeine and the unwanted chemicals we put onto our bodies or clean our houses with. The fruit and vegetables are the raw materials for our liver to work well, and we eat less of them but have more of these unwanted chemicals to process – that means the ‘toxic load’ has increased.
We also know that our livers have different efficiencies and work at different speeds compared to each other; a simple example is how fast some people feel the effect of alcohol or coffee compared to others. This is probably due to the efficiency of their liver enzymes, which can be analysed with DNA testing. Some of us may be lucky and be able to efficiently process all those unwanted chemicals, some of us may be less lucky and it takes longer so the unwanted chemicals hang around for longer in our bodies. Food such as cruciferous vegetables and green leafy vegetables are of particular importance to support our different liver enzymes. By the way, how you process coffee or alcohol doesn’t necessarily correlate to how you process other chemicals.
Thirdly I mentioned the increased nutrition in organic food. Organic vegetables have been found to have higher levels of antioxidants. The plants are left to fend for themselves and the protection mechanisms they naturally produce to keep predators away are responsible for causing an increase in antioxidants. I like to think of an antioxidant as something that dampens down what are called ‘free radicals’ in the body. A free radical is a normal by-product of our body’s chemical reactions but we don’t want too many of them.
Animal products have more polyunsaturated and omega 3 fatty acid. This tends to mean we are getting leaner meat, which is beneficial for us. Studies also link some of these fats with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and other health benefits.
Making it Practical
We appreciate that not everyone can afford to go fully organic so if you want to make a start with the most important foods Joanne Hart has some more top tips in part 2 of this article follow the link here for Practical steps towards eating organic food.
Joanne Hart of health & hart is a degree qualified Registered Nutritional Therapist, & Registered Nutritionist MBANT BSc (Hons) First Class, BEng (Hons). She provides personalised and practical nutrition and lifestyle advice to support your goals. Joanne is also a British Wheel of Yoga Teacher, and a Coach.