December 29, 2015


Organic food is hot.  Super foods such as pomegranate, bilberry, avocado…are even hotter!

Most consumers take organic food mainly because they feel that such foods are chemical and pesticides free.  That’s certainly the ultimate goal of organic farming.  The reality is, even with many certified organic products, pesticides may still be used.  It may not be synthetic pesticides which are disallowed in any organic farming.  Many organic farming practices do use organic pesticides such as Rotenone.  It is not necessary all organic matters are perfectly safe.  For example, rotenone is one that has high toxicity to fish and aquatic creatures.  It also has some toxicity towards mammals including humans. 

Earlier human took food in its raw natural form.  We then learn farming by making selections.  The last two centuries saw a dramatic shift from farming to industrial production.  The result is that we are moving further and further away from natural food.  Modern science helped us to breakdown the original raw food and tried to find individual nutrients that we now believe to be essential to life and health: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals…the discoveries and high yield production methods may have helped human to feed itself well.  But modern chronicle illness started to stalk us increasingly.  Late last century, scientist started to wonder if our approach of industrial farming and food production; selective nutrient enrichment are responsible for those illness. Nutritionist and scientist now promote whole, organic or naturally grown food more than ever. 

As we find more and more advanced method in farming and food production, what we lost most in our diet is phytochemicals, which are plant or fruit derived chemical compounds.  Phytochemicals now are believed to be able to significantly reduce the risk of diseases, probably due to polyphenol antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.  Common food rich in Phytonutrients are tomato, broccoli, garlic, flaxseed, blueberry (and bilberry), beans and peas, pomegranate…

Researches have fond that the potency of Phytonutrients in cultivated plants are far lower than those grown in the wild.  Wildly grown plants and fruits have stronger aroma, taste and often more bitter.  This stronger taste is mostly due to the increased content of Phytonutrients. Many of these components are produced as part of the plant’s own immune system. They protect the plant from insect damage and disease. The more nourished the plant is with the proper trace elements in the soil, the stronger the plant’s immunity to weather and other environmental hazards.  Modern cultivation, in contrast, has the plants well taken care of: covers to shield them from extreme weather; pesticides to protect them from infections and insets; chemical fertilizers to help them grow faster in a shorter time.  The result is higher yield but the plants are weaker as the plants themselves no longer need to strengthen its own immune system to survive.  They lack phytochemicals.  When we ingest those produces, we get less Phytonutrients.

The most nutritious food is still from those wildly grown.  

A typical Chinese medical hall would surely sell Bird’s Nest and Ginseng!  You are likely to see a few antique looking Ginseng prominently displayed with a price tag that is many times higher than those in the glass jar.  If you ask why the vast differences, the shop owner would proudly announce that those expensive Ginseng are WILDLY GROWN.  Yes, wildly grown Ginseng is indeed far more expensive than those cultivated in plastic wrapped green house.  The reason?  Wildly grown Ginseng is believed to be far more potent in delivering the true benefits.

In fact, that does not only apply to Ginseng.  It applies to all herbs and foods, even to animals and seafood.  We all know that Kampung Chicken is tastier; a Japanese will never agree that beef from intensive farming in US can be as great as Kobe beef.  Many may not yet know: the quantity and quality of Omega-3 from farmed Salmon is far different from Salmon grown in the wild. 

Yes, we can’t turn back and live on wildly grown food only as we have too many on the planet to be fed now.  However, this reality should not stop us from searching for better, more nutritious food, especially when one wants to make food as part of his or her holistic approach to better health.

If you take food simply for the enjoyment of the taste and to fill the stomach, you don’t have to bother how the food was produced.  It does not matter if it is organic or not.  However, if you are paying good money after specific benefit a food that is known to be able to provide, you should know more on how the food was produced.  It is certainly better to take it organic.  It is best to take it wildly grown if they are available.