Organic 101: Is Organic Food A GMO?

In 2002, the Philippines was the first country in Asia to approve the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) corn for animal feeds. Around 70% of the country’s corn output is GM. Furthermore, for more than a decade now, it has allowed the importation of GM crops into the country.

You might be wondering, is organic food a GMO? A lot of people are not aware of what a GMO, or genetically modified organism is. Critics have raised that this kind of technology is dangerous, while advocates continues to stress that such ill effects are not yet scientifically proven.

But what exactly is GMO and how is it done?

How is a genetic modification in food done?

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are made by altering the genes of said organisms. Scientist remove one or more genes in the DNA of one organism, then recombine them with the DNA of the organism they want to alter.

By doing so, it is expected that the genetically modified organism will exhibit the certain traits associated with the genes that were recombined.

But why produce GMO in the first place? It is believed that doing so will yield positive results such as better crop yield, bug- and pesticide-resistant plants, improved nutritional values, and improved flavors. Again, there are critics that say this technology is dangerous.

Why are GMOs not safe?

Genetic manipulation might lead to disruptions of the function of the genes, creating new substances that could be dangerous to people when ingested. This might create or else increase allergens, and even create new toxins.

Another reason is that this method is considered to be a radical technology.

Plant breeders are capable of cross-breeding plants, but they deal with the same species to create new varieties. However, with GMO technology, you can use the DNA of any living organism and transfer it to other organisms.

This is possible even if they’re not of the same species, and without having to consider the side-effects of such a process.

According to critics, this is not just dangerous to humans, but non-GMO plants as well, since they are then at risk of being contaminated.

In what way can GMO affect non-GMO?

When planting organic products, it is strictly prohibited to use any kind of synthetic chemicals. This includes fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides. However, organic produce are still at risk of getting contaminated by GMO.

This contamination can happen in the following natural ways. First, through cross-pollination between a GMO and a non-GMO plant. This can be done through insects, especially if a nearby farm has GMO plants.

Second is from GMO seeds transferred via wind or birds, and then planted in soil near organic crops. Even conventional farms can be contaminated with GMO. They can come in a form of animal feeds and other ingredients.

Should we worry about GMO?

Despite different criticisms on GMO, advocates continue to have a positive outlook over GMO. According to them, negative claims against GMO are yet to be scientifically proven. Moreover, GMO are said to help in ensuring food security.

To answer the question, organic farming doesn’t produce GMO crops; instead, it’s contamination from GMO crops remains a threat. Nevertheless, with proper management, organic farmers can ensure that they are contamination-free. For more about organic products, visit Davao Organics.

The Benefits of Having Basil In Your Garden

 

Having an organic herb garden may come in handy especially if you love to cook, and you shouldn’t forget to include basil on the list of herbs. This herb is one of the more famous ones, used in cooking both fish and meat. Not to mention it’s one of the main ingredients of pesto.

But aside from adding flavor to your favorite dishes, organic plants like basil are also a source of numerous benefits. If basil is still not in your garden, it’s not too late to get it. Here’s a list of the benefits you can get from this herb.

What nutrients can I get from basil?

Basil is one of the healthiest herbs and commonly referred to as the “holy herb”. It has high level of vitamin K, which is essential for bone strengthening and mineralization. It’s also needed for the production of clotting factors in the blood.

Two tablespoons of basil will provide you with 29% of your daily recommended value.

It also contains essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These essential oils have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Also, they’re capable of decreasing the growth of harmful bacteria like E. coli, staphylococcus, and listeria, among others.

Basil also has antioxidant properties, having high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A serves as protection from lung and oral cavity cancers, is essential for having good vision, and is important in maintaining healthy mucusa and skin.

Moreover, zeaxanthin found in basil helps in filtering harmful UV rays from reaching the retina. At the same time, it is an antioxidant that helps protect the elderly from age-related macular disease (AMRD).

Basil also contains large amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Potassium helps control heart rate and blood pressure, and iron is an important component of hemoglobin in our blood.

What other benefits that I can get?

A study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science proved that basil oil is effective in fighting bacteria that causes pimples. However, before trying this to remedy your acne breakout, discuss it with your doctor especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

It also effective in insect stings and bites. Chewing up basil and applying it to the bite will help relieve the pain and draw out the venom. Moreover, for ladies, if it’s the time of the month, eating a little more basil will help replenish the iron that you lost during menstruation.

Furthermore, according to botanist James Duke, Ph.D, basil also has anti- anxiety effects. It is because of the phytochemicals that it contains; they lower cortisol, the hormone secreted when you feel tense.

Likewise, it can also help relieve your stress. Just add 2 cups of strong basil leaf tea to a warm bath and feel its relaxing effect into your body.

Indeed, this herb does a lot of wonders. Not only it makes your food delicious, it also provides you with alternative remedies to common health problems without worrying about harsh side-effects.

Want to know more about different organic vegetables and plants you can grow at home? Just visit Davao Organics.

The Benefits Of Going ‘Brown’

A typical Filipino meal will not be complete without rice; it’s usually only in the Philippines where restaurants offer unlimited rice to attract customers. A majority of Pinoys consume white rice on a daily basis. But there are those who prefer brown rice. So the question remains: which is better?

For those aiming for a healthier body, organic food like brown rice should be part of your menu. White rice are more refined compared to brown rice, stripping away iron, zinc, magnesium, and other nutrients in the process.

Brown rice, meanwhile, is milled only once, so it still has parts of the hull as well as bran, both of which provide the grain’s “natural wholeness”.

You get more selenium and manganese when you eat brown rice, too. The former helps lower risk of degenerative diseases like cancer. Manganese, on the other hand, benefits the nervous and reproductive system, and is responsible for synthesizing fats.

Moreover, there are studies that prove that replacing white rice with brown reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say that two or more servings of brown rice have been associated with a lower risk for the disease. On the other hand, five or more servings of white rice per week lead to an increased risk.

This is because brown rice has low glycemic index (GI). This index classifies food according to how quickly and by how much they raise blood sugar levels. So how do you determine which is better? Essentially, the higher the GI, the faster the food is digested and the higher blood sugar levels go.

Between white and brown rice, the former has a higher GI compared to the latter.

Replacing white rice with brown is also better for weight loss. When you eat brown rice, you feel full even if you eat only a small portion of the meal. Moreover, the fiber content in brown rice is higher compared to white, leading to better digestion and helping to prevent colon cancer.

Aside from the health benefits, it is environmental and farmer friendly. Since brown rice has to be milled just once, it reduces the use of fuel. This means less pollution and carbon emissions, and also reduces production costs.

This is good for farmers because they won’t have to buy machineries used for white rice.

It will also help the country in general. Brown rice may increase the Philippines’ food supply and decrease the need to import rice.

According to a study conducted by the Philippine Research Institute, milling brown rice reduces food waste. It’s 10% milling recovery compared to white rice is equivalent to saving 1.2 million metric tons of rice.

At present, we are still the world’s biggest importer of rice. Ironic isn’t it? With an increased food supply due to brown rice, it would lessen the need for importation from other countries.

Going ‘brown’ would benefit not just us Filipinos, but also the country and environment. For more information about healthy food, organic farming and the like, visit Davao Organics.