Although the term organic is likely a part of your vocabulary, chances are you’re still a little foggy on its actual benefits (don’t sweat it—most people are).

But, there’s no need to worry— Healthier by Nature, a new community, created by the experts at the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), is here to help!

How is organic food different?

Organic food is produced using environmentally and animal friendly farming methods. It is a holistic approach to agricultural processes, taking into account impact on our own bodies, the environment around us and even the welfare of animals.

How do I know the food I’m buying is actually organic?

To be certified as organic in Canada, the food must include 95% or more, organic ingredients. Organic food, feed, and seed are regulated under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), under the purview of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This simply means, when you buy organic you can look for the Canada organic logo and know that your food has been regulated from farm to fork to ensure all the organic standards have been met along the way. This logo is your insurance the food you are buying is truly organic.

What are the benefits of choosing organic?

Considering organic foods can be more expensive than their conventional counterparts, there needs to be benefits that justify the price. But, it’s worth the investment.

When you choose organic you can feel confident in your decision for a number of reasons:

  • Organic produce often contains fewer pesticides.
  • Organic food is often fresher!
    This is because it doesn’t have preservatives that make it last longer.
  • Organic farming is kinder to the environment. Farming practices reduce pollution and soil erosion, conserve water and energy, and increases soil fertility. The lackof pesticides is also better for surrounding birds, animals, and people.
  • Organically raised animals are free from antibiotics and growth hormones and aren’t fed animal byproducts.
  • Organic meat and milk can have higher levels of certain nutrients (omega-3 fatty acids are 50% higher than in conventionally raised meat).
  • Organic food is GMO-free.

Where should I go organic?

Ultimately, incorporating more organic food into your diet is kinder to your body and the planet, but starting to go organic can seem overwhelming at first. To make it easier, the Environmental Working Group puts out a list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen each year. The Dirty Dozen are those fruits and vegetables that contain more pesticide residue—and it is best to buy these foods organic.

Whereas the Clean Fifteen are those that have been found to be less contaminated—so it is okay if you don’t buy them organic. Choosing to buy the fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list and buying conventional for the Clean Fifteen will save you some money.

You can also look beyond the produce aisle for everything organic from soups, sauces, to condiments, crackers and cereal—the list goes on forever. The best part, you can stock up on these items when they are on sale and save yourself even more money.

More Inspiration: Check out this informative article on the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

Note: Optimyz partners with CHFA to bring Canadians the best knowledge and inspiration for eating and living healthy. This is not paid content.

Author: Michelle W. Book is the in-house holistic nutritionist and spokesperson for Healthier by Nature an online community educating Canadians about the benefits of natural health and organic products. She is a regular contributor to Optimyz Magazine.

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