Sales of organic food in the UK hit almost £2 billion in 2015 and demand just keeps on rising. Tesco has recorded a 15% increase in organic sales last year, while Ocado’s organic products sales rose by 16% during the same period. It’s the biggest growing sector in the UK food market. So, do you buy organic? If you haven’t jumped onto the organic bandwagon yet, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. After all, why pay 10-12% more for your food when household budgets are stretched already? Is going organic really worth the extra cost? We’ve had a look at the evidence and have come to the conclusion that eating organic food is definitely recommended. Here, Dakota Murphey gives 6 good reasons why: 1. No more chemicals According to the Soil Association, there are around 500 chemicals routinely used in conventional farming. These include pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilisers – a total of 3,800 brands are currently approved for use in the UK. These chemicals, in isolation and in combination, have the potential to do real damage to our health over time, and they take years for our bodies to get rid of. Choosing organic foods means that you will no longer subject your body to a veritable ‘cocktail’ of chemicals on a daily basis. This is surely a good thing. 2. Reduced health risks Many pesticides have been implicated in serious health risks such as cancer, and brain and neurological damage can result from overexposure to pesticides that are neurotoxins. Lindane, a pesticide found in non-organic milk is linked to breast cancer – that’s a fact. Sulphur dioxide is a preservative routinely used in non-organic wines – it’s what gives you a hangover headache. We could go on… 3. Good for children Children, in particular, should not be exposed to toxins on an industrial scale, since their brains and bodies are still growing and need to be protected. On the contrary, children should be given the best possible nutrition in order to develop properly. Much of the increase in children’s allergies, behavioural and hyperactivity issues can be traced back to chemicals found in conventional farming that can act as a trigger. Selecting organic food for your family is the best way to feed our children’s bodies without the risk of exposure to pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the safety of which is at best unproven. 4. High levels of nutrition We all know that we should eat at least 5 pieces of fruit and veg every day to keep healthy – but how nutritious is non-organic produce? By eating organic foods, you can boost your intake of vitamins and minerals by around a third. Studies have shown time and again that organic food is higher in nutrients than conventional produce, particularly in terms of vitamin C, antioxidants and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and chromium. 5. Real food Organic produce is real food that has a more authentic taste than its conventionally farmed cousins. GMO foods, on the other hand, have been engineered for resistance, efficiency and, ultimately, profitability. Which would you rather eat? 6. Sustainability Organic farming is a sustainable practice that had been around for thousands of years. Unlike modern agricultural methods, growing organic food does not focus on high yield monoculture, nor does it involve harmful practices that are destructive for the environment. In this way, organic food supports wildlife habitats and greater biodiversity that is fundamental to our planet. Once you’ve made the decision to go organic, you will need to find a reliable food supplier for your daily needs. Luckily, this is not difficult to do. Supermarkets now routinely offer a selection of organically grown produce, or you could try your local farmers’ market, or organic delivery boxes, for fruit and veg straight from the farm. Alternatively, you can join the thousands of allotment gardeners whose decision to grow their own fruit and veg is as much a hobby as a lifestyle choice. Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs can be fun, and with organics seeds from reputable online suppliers such as Seed Parade, you can grow a productive veg garden for the whole family to enjoy. Dakota enjoys sharing her experiences of living a healthy lifestyle through her blog posts. Working as a freelance writer for a multitude of different industries, when she's not writing or cooking up a storm in her kitchen she enjoys hiking and countryside walks with her family.