Pay the Farmer Now or the Dr. Later: The Case for High-Quality Organic Food
By Jessica Yoches, MNT
The low prices of conventionally grown food conceal a greater hidden cost. These foods contain chemicals and food additives that cause ill health and the necessity for prescription drugs.
The US is one of the few countries that invests such a small portion of their income on food; Americans spend double on healthcare than on groceries. Large-scale conventional farms are subsidized and able to grow food cheaply to sell at artificially low prices. However, this food can be toxic and poor in nutrients.While paying for high quality, organic foods is more expensive, it is worth the cost.
These foods are the richest in disease-fighting nutrients and antioxidants, and are essential for maintenance of health and disease prevention. This is especially important for our patients with leaky gut and autoimmune issues such as Celiac, Lupus, Hashimoto’s, and MS. Hippocrates knew this long ago, coining the phrase: “let food be our medicine, and medicine be our food.”By food, we are referring to unprocessed, fresh, organic, and local food that is free of chemicals and food additives.
This also means avoiding GMO foods that have less nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than those grown organically. As mentioned in our recent blog on GMOs, “genetically modified” implies that the food is sprayed with a toxic chemical called glyphosate. Research studies show that glyphosate affects the brain and hippocampus, creating neurotoxicity and oxidative stress1.
Studies with rats tested effects on the brain with both acute and chronic glyphosate exposure. Acute exposure alone demonstrated neural cell death, oxidative damage, and the dysregulation of enzymes that protect the brain from Alzheimer’s. Results also demonstrated a significant decrease of the protective antioxidant glutathione and an excessive release of glutamate through neurons, which causes neurotoxicity, or damage to the brain and nervous system. For these reasons, avoiding GMO foods is important for health prevention.
Additionally, how animals are raised and what they are fed impacts the health of the animal and the nutritional quality of their meat. Grass-fed meat is superior in nutrition and quality than grain-fed meat; animals are meant to eat grass and insects and to access sunlight. GMO grains are the main source of food for grain-fed, feedlot animals that are raised in crowded spaces without access to sunlight and grass, meaning their meat is lower in nutrients and higher in toxins.
Grain-fed meat has a higher ratio of Omega 6 fatty acids to Omega 3 fatty acids, which causes systemic inflammation contributing to heart and autoimmune disease. Meanwhile, pasture raised and grass-fed meats are significantly higher in nutrients because they eat a natural diet free of GMO grains and have access to sunlight. When chickens are pasture-raised and eat grass and insects their eggs have three times as much Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and seven times more beta-carotene. Also, milk, butter, and meat from grass-fed cows, in contrast to grain-fed cows, showed the same elevation of nutrients and the ideal ratio of more omega 3 fatty acids to omega 6 fatty acids.
Where your food comes from and how it was grown is part of the food chain and has an effect on your health and body. Even though the cost of high quality food is more expensive upfront, it is preventative to eat healthy now, your body and health will thank you later!
Contact us today to learn how your Denver Functional Medicine specialist can help!