Why Ayurveda Need to be Organic ?
Ayurveda proposes that Purusha (individual) and Prakriti (nature) are interlinked and so, the chemicals used in prakriti will lead to serious after effects in purusha. It is mentioned in Ayurveda that food grown in polluted environment loses its rasa (taste) and gandha (smell), thus reducing its pharmaceutical properties. The cultivation of plants whether for consumption or medicinal use should be done in a sustainable manner, with minimum interaction from chemicals to ensure good health and longevity along with a more positive impact on your mental and emotional health.Ayurveda being a holistic system of medicine places immense importance on proper diet.
The quality of food is an important aspect which influences our health. The foundation of a healthy body and good immune system lies in a proper, wholesome diet. With our busy schedules, the concept of eating healthy and staying healthy was being neglected, but the scenario is changing and the current generation is extremely careful about what they eat. Counting each calories and researching the labels of ingredients for any harmful additives, we are on a close vigil for everything we consume. But one fact which we often fail to realise is the long list of unwanted chemicals that intrude into our everyday food, and we are on a false conception that we are eating healthy.
We are eating healthy, but are we eating right
As a part of the war against hunger and food scarcity, about four decades ago, India also launched the widely celebrated Green revolution in a bid to achieve food safety for its vast population. But the truth is that the green revolution was never very green. What started with the modern technique of using high yielding seeds, monoculture cropping, petroleum based fertilisers and pesticides in place of the traditional methods of farming, definitely improved the situation of world, but it is leading to a more serious predicament: decline in environmental quality and pernicious health issues which are threatening global security.The reckless use of chemical pesticides reduces the general biodiversity of the soil and accumulation of these chemicals into living organism, the concentration of which increases as we proceed up in the food chain, leads to a phenomenon called bio magnification. Considering that humans are at the top of the food chain, we have a high risk of accumulating substantial concentrations of these chemicals through bio magnification. The health implications of these chemicals range from short time impacts like headache, nausea and digestive issues to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive diseases, birth defects and endocrine diseases
What is the solution
People prefer transparency and traceability about what they are consuming along with reduced impact on environment, and Organic produce is ideally positioned to address these issues. Organic food movement started in the first half of 20th century as an alternative to chemical farming and is slowly gaining prominence as a part of a more sustainable lifestyle. The public profile of Organic food has rose, as more people amid growing health concerns have started to realise the relation between diet and health.
What is Organic
Organic cultivation is a production system that uses sustainable methods to ensure health of soil, environment and people, relying on ecological processes adapted according to the local conditions by combining traditional knowledge and science. Organic farming aims to improve the soil-microbe quality and fertility while preventing pest infestation with emphasis on encouraging the biological processes of available nutrients. Rather than using synthetic and chemical pesticides, Organic cultivation instead relies on bio pesticides which is derived from plant, animal or mineral sources which improves crop productivity and soil health and structure by using measures like crop rotation, hand weeding, mechanical tillage, composting. These practices enhance microbial degrading processes which disintegrate organic matter to release essential mineral nutrient to the soil and thus giving rise to sturdier crops that can resist disease and insect predation.
Benefits of Organic cultivation
● Organic cultivation is regenerative as it restores the nutrient levels and carbon content in soil that results in higher yield.
● It improves the adaptability and resilience of the crops to weather variation.
● Biologically alive soil as a result of reduced chemical pesticides is more stable structurally and prevents soil erosion.
● Organic systems host a greater diversity of plant species, beneficial insects and microbes, thus improving ecological health.
● Improves water holding capacity of soil, and reduces surface runoff, thereby conserving topsoil and nutrients.
● Organic methods decrease energy consumption by 20 to 50% due to reduced use of fossil fuels. It thereby reduces carbon footprint and is an essential step to combat climate change.
Health benefits of consuming Organic food
● Organic food is more rich in nutrients than conventionally grown food.
● Reduced concentration of chemical pesticides and fertilisers in organically grown food has significant positive health implications.
● Organic food also contains lesser amount of toxic heavy metals like cadmium that accumulates in liver and kidneys.
● Organic food has higher antioxidant content than conventionally grown ones.
● Organic food is fresher as it is devoid of preservatives.
● Organic food is GM free, that is, they are not genetically engineered to improve production. Food safety advocates fear that long term implications of GMOs include internal organ damage, GI tract diseases and neurological disorders.
Challenges in organic food production
● Lack of awareness among general public and farmers. It is a challenge to convince farmers to shift to organic farming.
● Organic food is on the pricier side because of extensive use of manual labour involved.
● High risk of pest infestation.
● Shortage of certified Organic seeds.
Why do we need to switch to Organic produce?
Modern techniques of farming have definitely done much to eliminate global hunger, however the numerous health issues and environmental degradation that we are facing now is a warning for all of us to shift towards a more sustainable way of living which has minimum impact on environment. As more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of going chemical free, the popularity of Organic is on the rise.
Let us not load our bodies with unwanted chemicals, especially when we have to take up the healthier turn: Let us Go Ayurveda, Go Organic !
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326827479_Impact_of_Organic_Food_Production_on_Soil_Quality https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259900106_Conventional_and_organic_farming_Soil_erosion_and_conservation_potential_for_row_crop_cultivation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359265 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320990552_Heavy_metals_concentration_in_conventionally_and_organically_grown_vegetables https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4141693/ https://www.pnas.org/content/109/44/18226