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Avoid consuming only ‘organic food’; ‘Processed foods are not healthy’

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 19: “People may feel reassured about eating organic food. However, organic food products are usually expensive due to which people may limit eating fresh vegetables and fruits because of their prices. Therefore, we recommend diversification of food sources without the need to focus on consuming only organic food”, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting an expert on food science and nutrition at Kuwait University Dr Dalal Al- Kazemi.

She advised people to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers or those closest to Kuwait, and ensure they are washed well, and any crusts and leaves that are most contaminated with pesticides are removed even though this will reduce the important nutrients in the produce that are required for the body. Dr Al-Kazemi stressed the need to avoid buying candies and organic chips because processed foods are not healthy, and could be high in sugar and salt, which the body does not need.

Explained
She explained that there are some health benefits from consuming organic foods compared to others. The differences are that organic foods contain a greater percentage of nutrients and essential omega-3 fatty acids. They contain a lower percentage of agricultural pesticide residues and bacteria resistant to treatments with conventional antibiotics and cadmium, which is a toxic metal in traditional fertilizers.

Despite some studies that concluded these differences, the specialists agree that there is not enough information on the differences in terms of the overall health benefits. And, there is no need to spread panic among people because these differences are variable with different areas, seasons and crops in the mentioned studies. Fertilizers and hormones in organic agricultural methods prevent many traditional methods and techniques of production such as the use of artificial fertilizers that feed the soil and most pesticides, the use of wastewater as fertilizer, genetic engineering, and the use of antibiotics or hormones to increase the growth of livestock and poultry, and radiation treatment against diseases and food preservation.

This type of food includes organic practices of using use plant wastes and livestock to enhance production and improve soil quality as well as use of natural methods of insects, plants and weeds to reduce epidemics and control pests. Dr Al-Kazemi noted, “However, authorized pesticides may be used for organic farming, while animals are raised in environmentally friendly health conditions with the possibility of going out for natural grazing, and providing organic food to them”.

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