‘Natural’ and ‘Organic’ happen to be the buzz words in the 21st Century. In the past few years it has gained so much momentum that it has actually become mandatory for the products to be received well in the market. Stroll across any market and you shall find products labeled ‘100% Organic’, ‘Organic Produce’, ‘100% Natural’, ‘Natural Ingredients Only’ etc. And this is common to not just cosmetics and makeup but food, groceries, milk, medicines etc.
We all know that it is better to choose an organic or a natural product over the others, but a deeper articulation on the facts will keep you swayed by the enigma. The insider world of the natural and organic products is bluer than what it looks like on the surface.
Before taking home another product or medicine labeled ‘organic’ or ‘natural’, you should understand the basics because you deserve to know what’s good for you!
What is ‘Organic’?
Anything labeled ‘Organic’ means that it has been produced or manufactured under controlled environment that is free from fertilizers, pesticides, toxic chemicals, synthetic hormones, etc. The USDA provides a certification for the organically grown products. They are indeed inspected and checked before being provided with a label that says ‘Organic’. There are basically four categories in which the organic health care products can be divided or labeled.
100% Organic: The products that are developed entirely in an organic environment have been labeled as ‘100% Organic’ by USDA. These products are free from any toxic chemicals, pesticides, hormones, artificial flavors, pesticides, medicines, etc. They are naturally produced with only the good ingredients.
Organic: These are 95% organic produce and have some level of pesticides or chemicals used in them. But any sort of synthetic hormones or toxic chemicals are avoided. The label and seal is permitted to be used by USDA.
Made with Organic Ingredients: Any organic produce having 70% or more organic ingredients for its production is labeled as ‘Made with Organic Ingredients’. The fact that the major composition of the products are organic, due credit is given to the produce. However, all the related details about the pesticides and fertilizers used in the productions are to be shared in the packaging.
Less than 70% organic: The produce which although contain less than 70% organic ingredients or are produced under mixed environment are termed as ‘Less than 70% organic’. These products cannot be labeled as ‘Organic’ for marketing or sale and therefore aren’t approved with a seal. They can list down the organic ingredients on the packaging.
If you are indeed buying certified organic health products, you can assure yourself that the product you order comes from a farm that ensures:
- No use of artificial fertilizers or herbicides
- No synthetic chemicals, colors or preservatives
- No use of antibiotics
- No use of growth regulators or genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Limited pesticides
- Sustainable land, cattle or farm management
What is ‘Natural’?
Unlike ‘Organic’, the ‘Natural’ world of products isn’t quite clear. A ‘Natural’ label on the products like medications, health supplements, food or cosmetics can mean anything. Government does not regulate the label ‘natural’ unless for poultry and meat.
A ‘Natural’ label generally means a produce that is minimally processed and has no artificial additives. It refers to the products which are naturally grown or found in nature like minerals and plants. The doubt that products are lab manufactured is simplified by the label ‘natural’ as it is proof that the products are indeed made from natural ingredients and processed in natural environments.
In general, when you’re buying a natural health supplement, you can assure that the farm:
- Uses ingredients that are extracted naturally from plants, flowers, etc
- Does not use GMOs
- Does not use sulfates, parabens, or other toxic chemicals
- Does not use petrochemicals
- Does not test products on animals
- Uses ingredients in natural form
Any product marked ‘natural’ although is not a proof that it contains all skin-friendly, health friendly or non-toxic substances. You might want to dig into the ingredient list and find out for yourself!
Difference between organic and natural health products
Although used a lot interchangeably, there is a vast difference between Organic and Natural Products. Where one signifies the standards of manufacturing and approved health as per the regulations of the government, the other is simply a term that could mean some natural ingredients but doesn’t necessarily promise health. Where organic food and health products are entrusted with the reliability that they are safe, natural products don’t guarantee purity.
When it comes to skincare and cosmetic industry, there has been a line of distinction marked when it comes to treating labels like natural and organic. An organic one would promise only the good ingredients for your skin. A natural one would still have some chemicals in the formulation.
Organic products come with a low shelf life because of absence of the preservatives, while natural products can last longer!
Even in the medical industry today, there are natural health supplements, organic supplements, homemade formulas, etc. available for the customers to choose from. While a majority of the doctors and customers rely on lab-tested medicines only, the rising wave of organic labels has given a rise to the naturally made products too. The fact that your medicines and fruits can be organic is a big relief!
Our body needs numerous nutrients, minerals and vitamins to keep up with the health we have been awarded with. As part of nature, our bodies derive the nutrition from natural products. There are indeed benefits for shifting towards organic and natural health products. They reduce the risks associated with health, not just for the consumers but also farm workers, environment and nature.
- Reduced health risks
We are all trapped in an environment that is toxic and full of health hazards. The consumption of chemical laden food is doing no good. Eating organic food can cut off from the added harmful chemicals, pesticides, artificial flavors, and hormones that go into the body with the food you consume.
Shifting to organic and natural products can lower down the health risks and promote good health.
- More nutrients
Our body needs nutrients in the most natural form to stay in good health. The consumption of degraded quality food is doing more harm than good. And although we put stress on eating vegetable and fruits, if they aren’t organic, they aren’t as healthy as they should be.
Organic food and health products promise increased nutrients in them. They aren’t toxic to your body and thus can improve your health. A few days of organic diet can bring about changes in your health condition.
- Avoiding pollutants
Before starting to sow the seeds, the land and crop are modified genetically to yield a higher harvest. During the time of harvest, a lot of chemicals, pesticides, and hormones go in to bring the crop in best condition. This harms the land, crops, farmers, cattle, environment and the families of the farmers too. An increase in organic farming practices results in avoiding pollutants and provides promising health to not just the consumers but to environment as a whole.
- Active lifestyle
Eating healthy food provides all the nutrients to the body which accelerates energy levels of the body. Unlike the regular food habits, one shall witness a big change in their lifestyle habits like sleeping patterns, activeness and moods. This accelerates the quality of life and improves general well being too.
Availability of natural and organic products
Thanks to the recent awareness about sustainability, eco-friendly and organic food! We are moving fast towards a healthier environment around us. We can easily find a lot of generic drugs, food items, vegetables, fruits, etc. on the shelves that are labeled Organic.
The beauty industry has grown 35% products certified as Organic and Natural in the past couple of years.
The natural cosmetics industry is booming with a stark rise of certified and organic products. There are more brands that promise to deliver paraben-free, vegan, cruelty-free and organic products to the consumers. Same goes with the Meds Store and grocery stores that have come up with their versions of organic supplements and products that are labeled organic. Therefore, laying hands on organic protein, health supplements, essential oils, grains, etc. is not a difficult hunt.
Precautions that customers may need to take!
Although the organic industry is blooming and natural products are all over the market, the reality comes with a pinch of salt. Not all products that are labeled or tagged with the terms ‘Natural and Organic’ are truly natural and organic. Customers need to learn to differentiate the marketing gimmicks from the true certified ones. Here are some hints:
- Look for trusted seal marking ‘Organic’ and ‘Natural’ on the products from the USDA and other food associations.
- Keep a check on the ingredients listed on the products.
- Trust only the brands that deal in exclusive organically grown products.
- Read the word ‘Natural’ skeptically as the word does not come with a government regulation and thus can use any natural ingredient to term natural. These can be potentially harmful too.
- Paraben-free, sulfate-free, no artificial flavors, vegan, cruelty free, 100% organic etc. are some of the labels to lookout for!
Get set Organic!
It might seem to be a good idea to find an organic and natural alternative to your lifestyle needs but it comes at an additional cost. As growing anything naturally has its costs associated with it, these are generally priced high from that of the chemical ones. Sometimes, brands market with such brilliant ideas that customer falls into the trap of chemical products with ease. Keeping your eyes open to the enlisted ingredients and the details on the packaging can truly be a life changer.
Choose to go natural and organic but be wise to select it. It only takes a few seconds to cut out the toxicity from your life and bring home the goodness.