Organic vegetable produce
Organic vegetable produce is cultivated without the use of artificial pesticides and synthetic fertilisers in a diverse natural environment by means of organic fertilisers and leguminous crops in rotation. Such produce does not contain pesticide residuals which might collect in bones and liver and pass through breast milk. Even a tiny amount of pesticide residuals which is below the set level can influence the regulatory processes of the human body.
Organic produce has a pleasant taste and aroma. It contains less nitrates and nitrites than ordinary produce, but a lot more such secondary metabolic products such as flavonoids, phenic acids and tannins - compounds that shape products’ aroma and taste - and other compounds, such as vitamins C and B and sugars. Also the content of minerals, such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, molybdenum, potassium, vanadium and zinc, is considerably higher than in ordinary products.
The lower nitrates content and higher content of phenolic acids and vitamin C of organic vegetable produce has a positive effect on health. In the digestive tract nitrates might form carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines which are in turn broken down by vitamin C and phenolic acids.
Research has proved that in organic produce the content of antioxidants essential to the human body is on the average 30% and the content of dry matter 10% higher than in ordinary products. Organic vegetables store better which can be explained by their higher content of dry matter, minerals and sugar. So lower storing losses are another advantage in addition to higher nutritional value. Yet the productivity of organic cultivation is approximately 20% lower than that of conventional methods which in turn is accountable for the higher price of organic produce.
In organic animal husbandry a lot of emphasis is placed on the well-being of animals and the aim is not maximum milk yield and rapid growth. Animals can satisfy their natural needs, be outdoors and eat organic fodder. All that guarantees that they are healthy and neither hormone preparations nor antibiotics are used for disease prevention. Organic milk and meat are rich in fatty acids which strengthen immunity and are essential to the human body (e.g. omega-3, conjugated linolenic acid). The fertility of animals bred according to these principles increases over future generations.
Organic produce does not contain genetically modified organism (GMOs), chemical food additives or preservatives. While the use of around 600 different additives is allowed to modify the qualities of food products, including synthetic food colours and E-substances extending the shelf life which according to some researchers might cause malfunctions of the immune and nervous system and in case of children, hyperactivity, for organic produce there are only around twenty natural compounds that can be added to the produce.
Tests show that if they can choose, animals as well as human beings prefer organic food. Birds and rats fed with organic food grow and develop faster, are healthier and more fertile. Research conducted in hospitals demonstrates that patients who are fed with organic food recover more quickly and the vitality of their sperm is higher. When old nuns started to eat organic food, their blood pressure became normal, general health condition became better and the sense of well-being increased.
The consumption of organic food helps to preserve nature for organic farming does not burden the environment with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. Also, organic production promotes the biodiversity of agricultural land. By preferring Estonian organic food, you also support the local, rural way of life.
Source: Estonian Organic Farming Foundation