Fresh is best. Fresh foods are far superior to either foods that are not freshly picked or to processed foods. Once picked, food immediately starts to loose nutrition. What’s worse, food that is transported long distances is generally picked green so that it arrives unbruised. Research has shown that much of the nutrition is only added to fruit shortly before it is fully ripe.
Eating fresh, organically grown fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes results in a lower risk of many types of cancer and chronic diseases and promotes healthy aging and higher energy levels. Epidemiological studies show that people who consume these foods have a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, arthritis, asthma, chronic bronchitis and cancer than people whose diets emphasise processed, refined un-whole foods.
Why are these foods so good for us? They are so good because of both what they do contain and what they do not contain. Firstly what do they contain? These fresh organic fruit vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes contain antioxidants, phytosterols, phytonutrients, glyconutrients, dietary fibres and resistant starches.
Organic beverages such as organic fruit and vegetable juices are now widely available, and there is a range of products for consumers to choose from. Organic fruit and vegetable juices are pure fruit or vegetable juices squeezed from fruit or vegetable with no other additives.
Although some people would challenge the benefit of organic cordials, sodas and fizzy drinks, for those people who are addicted to drinking this kind of drink, it is better that they drink organic than non-organic. These drinks consist of water flavoured and sweetened with natural organic ingredients such as ascorbic acid and tartaric acid for preservatives, and honey, apple juice and agave syrup or ordinary sugar as sweeteners.
What does organic produce not contain? Simply put, organic means no GM/GE and significantly reduced chemical loads. Conventional agriculture uses significant amounts of herbicides and pesticides that are highly toxic. Using this model of agriculture means spraying against pests and weeds regardless of whether they are present. Today, many farmers are moving to a more reactionary approach where chemicals are only applied when they are required. There is still excessive use though in most cases as a small infestation in one area of a field is treated by spraying the whole field. These farming practices leave chemical residues in and on the crop which is then consumed by humans or animals. Another problem with the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides is that they place the plant in a state of stress, reduce the uptake of nutrients from the soil. The result is fruit and vegetables that do not contain very much nutrition.
Convetional horticultural operations typically use plastic mulch. This results in masses of waste plastic that must be disposed of every season, as well as the toxic effects of the plastics in proximity to our food as it grows.